Brian Witt

Tom Brady to Las Vegas Raiders 'has legs,' UFC's Dana White believes

Tom Brady to Las Vegas Raiders 'has legs,' UFC's Dana White believes

Given the uneven performance Derek Carr had in the Raiders' final season in Oakland, it wouldn't be surprising if the team brought in another quarterback to start for the franchise' in its first season in Las Vegas.

Whether it's veterans like Cam Newton and Marcus Mariota or draft prospects like Tua Tagovaiola and Justin Herbert, there's no shortage of possibilities for Jon Gruden to consider as Carr's replacement and/or backup.

By the looks of the Connor McGregor-Cowboy Cerrone UFC fight Saturday night, it appears there's another name on the list, and it's the biggest one possible.

Yep. That would be Raiders owner Mark Davis in the white, and six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady in the black leather jacket on the right. If that doesn't get the rumor mill swirling, the following context might do the trick.

According to Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, UFC president Dana White -- who is a friend of Brady's and already is a suiteholder at Allegiant Stadium -- believes a Brady-Raiders pairing isn't all that farfetched. 

Carr is set to make $18.9 million in base salary in 2020, so it's difficult to see a scenario in which he and Brady are on the same team. Brady might be the best QB of all-time, and simply put, he's not taking a major pay cut. However, the Raiders would save $16.5 million and take a cap hit of just $5 million if they trade or release Carr prior to June 1, which would appear to be a precondition for bringing Brady to Sin City.

Of course, if the Raiders did that, it would be under the assumption that Brady could regain some of his three-time MVP form -- which, if you watched him in New England this past season, is nowhere near a certainty. In fact, one could argue that Carr is a superior QB to Brady right now, thus making that hypothetical move both illogical and unnecessary. While throwing for nearly an identical number of passing yards in 2019, Carr posted a far superior completion percentage than Brady (70.4 percent to 60.8 percent) and averaged 1.3 more yards per pass attempt. Of the 30 quarterbacks that qualified for ESPN's Total QBR rating -- which values the quarterback on all play types on a 0-100 scale adjusted for the strength of opposing defenses faced -- Carr was ranked ninth (62.4), while Brady was ranked 17th (53.7)

[RELATED: Mayock gives glowing review of Carr's 2019 with Raiders]

One would imagine that Gruden knows what he has in Carr, and considering his lukewarm-at-best endorsement of the Raiders' incumbent QB at the conclusion of the season, it wouldn't be surprising if the team opted to go in another direction. Brady certainly would provide plenty of excitement -- and would sell plenty of tickets -- but it would also be a big gamble on the Raiders' part.

Given it's Las Vegas, maybe that's the way to go.

How struggles in faceoff circle plagued Sharks on disastrous road trip

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USATSI

How struggles in faceoff circle plagued Sharks on disastrous road trip

That is not how the Sharks wanted to enter the All-Star break.

Coming off consecutive wins over the Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars, San Jose had a chance to reach the unofficial midway point of the regular season riding a massive wave of momentum, perhaps large enough to carry the team back to the postseason. All that sat between the Sharks and that development was a crucial three-game road trip against Western Conference foes.

At the very least, San Jose needed to keep its head above water. Instead, the Sharks drowned in disaster.

Facing the Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks -- all teams San Jose potentially would have to leapfrog to make the playoffs -- the Sharks reverted back to kind of performances that put them in such a deep hole in the first place.

San Jose was outscored 14-4 and outshot 117-73 over the course of the three games. Those two stats obviously are interconnected, but Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner pointed to another area of failure as a big reason for his team's struggles.

"The big difference this road trip is we've been horrible in the faceoff circle," Boughner said following the 4-1 loss in Vancouver on Saturday night. "You're never starting with the puck. Even in the offensive zone, you're chasing, and you can't chase pucks all night. That limits your possessions and tires you out."

Boughner's correct. The Sharks were thoroughly dominated in the faceoff circle over the course of the road trip, which might have had something to do with them scoring only one goal over its final six periods of play. San Jose won only 45.1 percent of the draws against the Coyotes, 45.6 percent against the Avalanche and only 38.0 percent against the Canucks.

It's only the third time this season the Sharks have won fewer than 49.0 percent of the draws in three straight games, and the most recent instance also coincided with a three-game losing streak. Whether it's shooting, scoring or simply gaining possession of the puck, Boughner is hoping the All-Star break will provide the Sharks with the needed respite to address their shortcomings.

"This is probably a great break for everybody, mentally," Boughner said. "Recharge the batteries and come back and try to forget about this week of hockey and put a good week in as soon as we get back."

[RELATED: Report: Wilson won't disrupt Sharks' core at trade deadline]

The Sharks' final week heading into the All-Star break was an unmitigated disaster. If they're still planning on qualifying for the postseason, they can't have any more like it.

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in familiar 4-1 loss vs. Canucks

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USATSI

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in familiar 4-1 loss vs. Canucks

BOX SCORE

The Sharks closed out a forgetful unofficial first half of their regular season against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday night. Just like so many of San Jose's games thus far, it ended in a lackluster loss.

While Team Teal ended up suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Canucks, it could have been much worse. The Sharks were unable to sustain any kind of offensive pressure, and goaltender Aaron Dell had to be on top of his game to prevent the score from getting out of hand -- which it eventually did.

The loss completes a winless three-game road trip for San Jose, over which the team was outscored 14-4.

Here are three takeaways from the Sharks' final game before the All-Star break:

Message not received

After San Jose's 4-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner didn't mince words when calling out his team, saying, "I think it's time to man up." Boughner then sent another message to his squad when he made Marcus Sorensen a healthy scratch for Saturday's matchup with the Canucks, pleading for more "relentlessness."

Who knows about Sorensen, but as for the rest of the Sharks, it did not appear that they heeded their coach's message. At no point throughout Saturday's game did San Jose impose its will on the opposition. In fact, it usually was the other way around.

The Sharks entered Saturday trailing the Canucks by 10 points in the standings. It's 12 now, and for a team with such little margin for error, San Jose's performance did not reflect the kinds of urgency one would expect.

Shots, shots, shots

The Sharks are averaging nearly one fewer goal per game than they did last season, and while you can point to the absence of certain individuals as perhaps the main reason why, it's really tough to score without getting pucks to the net. San Jose provided even more evidence of that fact Saturday night, accumulating only seven shots on goal through the first two periods, compared to 27 for Vancouver. It wasn't simply a failure to get shots through, either. The Canucks had attempted 54 shots entering the third period, while the Sharks had attempted precisely half that number.

San Jose tested Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko more in the third period with 10 shots on goal, and Barclay Goodrow was even able to find the back of the net to prevent Team Teal from being shut out for a second consecutive game. But considering how badly they needed a victory, the Sharks' slow start doomed them in the end.

[RELATED: Report: Wilson won't disrupt Sharks' core at trade deadline]

Not-so-special teams

The Sharks have been able to hang their hat on their No. 1-ranked penalty kill all season long, but it hasn't been nearly as dominant as of late. Vancouver went 1-for-6 on the power play against San Jose, marking the third time in four games that the Sharks have been scored on while shorthanded. And in the only game San Jose didn't allow a power-play goal, the Sharks gave up a short-handed goal to the Avalanche. 

The Canucks' lone power-play goal Saturday proved to be the game-winner. The Sharks haven't had many relative strengths this season, but when the few that they have had start to stumble, San Jose simply doesn't have much recourse.