Sharks

Five Earthquakes to watch in 2012

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Five Earthquakes to watch in 2012

Approaching the season opener Saturday against New England, the Earthquakes are optimistic. Key in on these five players, looking to inject the 'Quakes with energy in 2012.

Forward- Chris Wondolowski
Originally drafted out of Chico State by San Jose in 2005, the former De La Salle High School star returned to the team in 2009. Wondolowski had a breakout 2010 season, leading Major League Soccer in scoring with 18 goals in 28 matches en route to winning the MLS Golden Boot. In 2011, Wondolowski recorded nine game-winning goals, setting an MLS record. San Jose recently resigned Wondolowski to a new contract this February 2012.

Midfielder- Tressor Moreno
The veteran talent made his professional debut in 1999 when he emigrated to Peru and played for the Peruvian Alianza Lima team. During his year with Lima, Moreno played in 40 matches and scored 16 goals. In 2000 Moreno played for Colombia. During the 2005 season he was named one of the best players of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. During this time, Moreno was thought to be one the best foreign players to ever represent Peru. Moreno became a member of the Earthquakes in February 2012.

Winger - Marvin Chavez
Chavez broke out in 2011, starting 30 of 31 games and registering six goals and four assists for FC Dallas. He boosted the Texas club to a fourth-place finish and a place in the playoffs for the second season in a row. Chavez scored a game-winner in CONCACAF Champions League play on Aug. 17 against the Pumas UNAM. His MLS career includes eight goals and six assists, highlighted by a a goal and two assists in the MLS Cup final. Chavez is known as "El Hijo del Viento, (The Son of the Wind) because of speed.

Center defender- Ike Opara
Opara was drafted by San Jose Earthquakes in the first round (third overall) in the 2010 MLS Superdraft after playing five years for San Diego State University. In 19 games, Opara has scored three goals. Opara has a 38.5 SOG accuracy. The San Jose defender was selected by the U.S. to join its under-23 men's National Team Olympic Camp.

Full back- Steven Beitashour
Beitashour was picked 30 overall in the second round of the MLS Superdraft by the San Jose Earthquakes. He scored his first goal in the MLS against Chivas USA on April 24, 2010. Beitashour has played for the MLS for two years, scoring one goal and registering seven assists.

With Martin waived, holes in Burns' game are his to fix alone

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With Martin waived, holes in Burns' game are his to fix alone

Defenseman Paul Martin cleared waivers on Tuesday, and will now get a chance to play regularly with the San Jose Barracuda as his agent and Sharks general manager Doug Wilson attempt to find a trade destination. While he’s in the minors, his former partner, Brent Burns, is now playing with the man that essentially took his spot.

Joakim Ryan has been the reigning Norris Trophy winner's most common defensive partner this year, and the rookie moved back to Burns’ side late in San Jose’s win over Arizona on Saturday. He skated alongside him again during Monday’s win in Los Angeles, and is set to do the same Tuesday against the Coyotes.

In just over 28-and-a-half minutes together at five-on-five play over the last two games, the Sharks controlled 57.89 percent of the shot attempts, according to Natural Stat Trick. They got favorable assignments, starting 73.33 percent of their non-neutral zone shifts in the offensive zone.

Despite this, the pair have given up a worrisome amount of scoring chances in their short reunion. 

In parts of two games together, the Sharks have attempted 46.67 percent of the scoring chances, and 38.46 percent of the high-danger scoring chances with the Wookiee and the rookie on the ice. That's eye-popping, for all the wrong reasons, and points to a larger concern. 

No matter who Burns has played with the Sharks have been largely out-chanced. With Burns on the ice this season, the Sharks have controlled 49.94 percent and 44.52 percent of the scoring chances and the high-danger chances, respectively, with a team-high 65.49 percent of his non-neutral zone shifts starting in the offensive zone.

When Burns has played with Ryan all season, the Sharks have controlled 52.05 percent of the scoring chances, but just 47.97 percent of the high-danger chances, despite starting 65.53 percent of their non-neutral zone shifts in the offensive zone. With Dillon, Burns' second-most common defensive partner, the Sharks have lost the scoring chance and high-danger scoring chance battle, despite starting in the offensive zone 63.35 percent of the time.

It should be no surprise the Sharks have been badly outscored with Burns on the ice at even strength, to the tune of 17 goals for and 38 goals against. With all due respect to Fetty Wap, you don't want to see that. 

No matter who he's played with, Burns has struggled defensively in 2017-18. The problem is that his partners haven't struggled nearly as much without him.

Without Burns, Ryan's shot attempt numbers are worse, but his scoring chance numbers are much better (57.55 percent of the scoring chances, 55 percent of the high-danger chances), despite starting more shifts in the defensive zone (51.39 percent offensive zone starts). Dillon's possession numbers, as well as his scoring chance numbers, are also better away from Burns, and he too starts more shifts away from the offensive zone. 

As a result, it'd be fair to question why the Sharks waived Martin. After all, he was Burns' partner as he ascended into the league's upper echelon of defenseman, right?

But Burns and Martin were ineffective together in limited minutes this season, getting out-possessed, outshot, and out-chanced despite favorable deployment (61.11 percent offensive zone starts). Plus, Burns was actually better away from Martin over the last two seasons, as the Sharks controlled a greater share of the shot attempts, shots, and scoring chances when Burns played with a different partner. 

Perhaps, with more time together, Burns and Martin would have rounded into their defensive form of the last two seasons. Now, one of Martin's skates is out the door, and it's foolish to expect significant improvement from two players on the wrong side of 30 regardless.

Paul Martin's imminent departure, then, should send a clear message to Brent Burns. His security blanket is gone, and it's on him alone to plug the holes in his defensive game. 

49ers linebacker Foster named to NFL All-Rookie team

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49ers linebacker Foster named to NFL All-Rookie team

Linebacker Reuben Foster was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America.

Foster started all 10 games in which he appeared for the 49ers after being selected with the No. 31 overall pick out of Alabama. Foster finished second on the 49ers with 72 tackles. He had seven tackles for loss, ranking No. 2 on the team behind rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

Foster was one of three linebackers selected as an all-rookie performer. Thomas, the No. 3 overall draft pick, was not among the four defensive linemen honored.

[MAIOCCO: Ex-agent says Reuben Foster's arrest could void salary guarantees]

Foster was selected as the winner of the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November. He missed five games early in the season with a high ankle sprain and another game with a ribs injury.

The NFL’s top defensive rookie was New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who recorded five interceptions and scored a touchdown while making 13 starts.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
CO-OFFENSIVE ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs and RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: CB Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints

2017 PFWA ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
Offense
QB – Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
RB – Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs; Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
WR – Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams; Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
TE – Evan Engram, New York Giants
C – Pat Elflein, Minnesota Vikings
G – Dan Feeney, Los Angeles Chargers; Jermaine Eluemunor, Baltimore Ravens, and Ethan Pocic, Seattle Seahawks (tie)
T – Garett Bolles, Denver Broncos; Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans Saints

Defense
DL – Derek Barnett, Philadelphia Eagles; Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns; Carl Lawson, Cincinnati Bengals; Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants
LB – Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions; Reuben Foster, San Francisco 49ers; T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
CB – Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints; Tre'Davious White, Buffalo Bills
S – Jamal Adams, New York Jets; Marcus Williams, New Orleans Saints

Special Teams
PK – Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs
P – Rigoberto Sanchez, Indianapolis Colts
KR – Ryan Switzer, Dallas Cowboys
PR – Jamal Agnew, Detroit Lions
ST – Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals