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Trace McSorley leaning on Dwayne Haskins during quarantine workouts

Trace McSorley leaning on Dwayne Haskins during quarantine workouts

How does an NFL player stay in shape while away from gyms or team facilities? If you are Baltimore Ravens quarterback Trace McSorley that calls for yard work.  
The Ashburn, Virginia native is locked up at home like the rest of us, but his family has put him to work. Living with his mom, dad, and sister, McSorley does have a solid gym set up at home, but it’s not easy finding places to throw.
“That’s the hardest part,” McSorley said. “We’ve been able to get out there a couple of times. As long as we are keeping the groups under 10 people and staying six feet away from each other.”
McSorley fully understands the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. He’s cautious with his throwing sessions. But let’s be real. It is necessary for a quarterback to do more than just weight training to be ready for when the game starts back up again.
“We disinfect the ball before and after we start and everyone is wearing gloves.”
For throwing sessions, McSorley has gone to an old friend, Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins. They’ve been challenging each other since their high school days. Haskins attended Bullis in Potomac, Md.


McSorley went to Briar Woods High in Ashburn, where he won three state championships. The two friends are less than two years apart in age. McSorley, 24, was a high-school senior when Haskins was a sophomore.  
“Both of us push each other, we’re always going back and forth on what each of us sees in the other one, what we can do to help each other improve,” McSorley said. “It’s pretty cool now that we can do that going into our professional careers, it’s really helpful to have someone you feel like you are pushing and competing against.”
But McSorley doesn’t have to go far outside the Ravens quarterback room for leadership or experience. Both Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III, his fellow Baltimore quarterbacks, won the Heisman Trophy.
“It’s awesome. I’m the only one in the room that doesn’t have a Heisman,” McSorley said. “I’m able to learn from the guys that have had success at both levels.”
While RG3’s story is well documented, Jackson has managed to create his own. Falling in the 2018 NFL Draft to 32nd overall only to be named Most Valuable Player in his sophomore season.
“We’re all pretty close and have great chemistry together,” McSorley said. “We’re able to push and compete with each other to make each other better while having a great time.”
McSorley might not have a Heisman, but his college career at Penn State is not to be overlooked. He holds multiple school records in wins (31), completions (720), passing yards (9,899), passing touchdowns (77), total offense (11,596), rushing yards by a quarterback (1,697), rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (30), consecutive games with a touchdown pass (34) and 300-yard passing games (10).  
But unlike Haskins, Jackson, or Griffin III, McSorley had to wait until the sixth round in 2019 to hear his name called for the NFL, a lifetime moment he shared with his family.
While the 2020 NFL draft will go on as scheduled on April 23rd, it will not be like years past. Every draftee will take the call at home. But that’s a good place to be, according to McSorley, who will immediately head to Uncle Julio’s if the pandemic ends while he’s still in Ashburn. After that? It’s back to Baltimore to help the Ravens make another push for the Super Bowl.
“Your family is the one that was there putting you into the game of football when you were a kid, always had your back when things got tough,” McSorley said. “For me it was really cool to share that moment with people that have made it special and memorable.”

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If Steelers fans are allowed into Heinz Field this season, they'll have to wear a mask

If Steelers fans are allowed into Heinz Field this season, they'll have to wear a mask

If fans are permitted to attend Pittsburgh Steelers home games this fall, there's one item they can't forget: a mask.

Steelers' director of communication, Burt Lauten, explained the decision to require fans to wear a mask in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our goal is to still have fans at Heinz Field this year with the understanding that social distancing, as well as all fans being required to wear masks, will play a role in the capacity to ensure a safe atmosphere," Lauten said, via ESPN. "We will continue to work with the NFL and public health officials to finalize plans for fans to attend our home games."

Pittsburgh was one of the first franchises to alter its ticketing plans this season, as they decided in May to trim half of their individual game ticket sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The news comes just hours after their AFC North rival, the Baltimore Ravens, announced that M&T Bank Stadium will be capped at less than 14,000 fans this fall, should fans be allowed to attend games.


In June, The Athletic reported that the NFL will not place a limit on capacity at games, allowing each individual team to make the decision themselves.

"Attendance will be a state-by-state, county-by-county thing," an anonymous NFL source told The Athletic. "It will not be a one size fits all."

Additionally, the NFL has said that the first 6-8 rows of lower bowl sections, including field-level suites, will be blocked off this fall to help slow the spread of the virus. Those sections will be covered with tarps, which teams can use to sell advertising, similarly to what the Premier League in England has done.

With training camp still a few weeks away, there are a lot of virus-related questions the NFL must answer beforehand.


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Stephen A. Smith and ESPN poll leave Lamar Jackson out of top four quarterbacks

Stephen A. Smith and ESPN poll leave Lamar Jackson out of top four quarterbacks

Despite his 2019 MVP season, many NFL experts still aren’t convinced that Lamar Jackson is the league’s best.

In a debate with Domonique Foxworth on ESPN’s First Take on Monday, Stephen A. Smith shared his top-five quarterbacks in the NFL, slotting the reigning MVP fifth overall. 

Two days later, ESPN released a poll conducted with 50 NFL personnel to rank the top 10 quarterbacks in the league this season. Jackson was ranked sixth behind Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Drew Brees.

But after the record-breaking season the Ravens quarterback had –– a performance that earned him the league’s top individual honor –– how can so many still doubt his ability to succeed?

Smith cited two faults of Jackson’s game to justify his claim –– passing inability and playoff performance.

“There was a guy that ran the football very, very effectively, matter of fact as a quarterback led the team to have one if not the top-rated run attacks in football,” Smith said. “That would happen to be Tim Tebow when he was with the Denver Broncos. But what did I repeatedly say about my friend? He couldn’t throw the football at the NFL level. I never believed it, and that was a problem.”

Smith referenced Tebow’s rise and fall in the NFL and credited his inability to find longevity as a starting quarterback to his inconsistent and inaccurate arm –– something Jackson similarly struggles with.


The Ravens led the league in rushing offense and ranked second in total offense but earned just the 27th spot in passing offense. Jackson ranked eighth in completion percentage among all quarterbacks but first in rushing yards and sixth in rushing yards among all players. For Smith, this discrepancy does not warrant Jackson a top-two quarterback spot.

“No one can run the football like Lamar Jackson. Nobody,” Smith said. “Not at the quarterback position in the NFL. We know that. That’s just on another level. But in terms of throwing the football, even though he’s had his moments, and he definitely improved in accuracy in terms of completing 66 percent of his passes last season, I don’t think he can throw the football like Deshaun Watson.”

Smith referenced Watson and a number of other quarterbacks higher on his list like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees and praised their accuracy, leadership and veteran play, which earned them the spots ahead of Jackson.

In addition to the issues with Jackson’s arm, Smith also believed his playoff performance holds him back. Jackson posted an 0-2 record in his first two playoff performances, falling to the Chargers in 2018 and the Titans in 2019. 

Overall in his career, he completes 63.7% of his passes and posts a 4.66 TD/INT ratio. On the other hand, during the playoffs, he completed 51.1% of his passes and posted a 1.0 TD/INT ratio.

As Smith noted while he did improve from a 48% completion rate to 52% in the playoffs this year, he will not reach an elite level of play until he can perform in the postseason.

While Smith was certainly skeptical of Jackson’s ability to succeed in the league long-term, he still understood the hype.

“I’ll tell you this though, he is top-two box office. He might even be number one.”