Wakeup Call: LeBron's quest to be the best (of all time) resumes

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Wakeup Call: LeBron's quest to be the best (of all time) resumes

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, October 30:

BASEBALL
Buster Posey made sure there'd be no Doug Mientkiewicz-like controversy over the final-out ball from this World Series. (CSN Bay Area)

The Giants' sweep of the Tigers didn't rate with the nation's TV viewers. (AP)

Josh Reddick? A finalist for the Gold Glove? What happened to the guy who used to stumble around in right field for the Red Sox? (CSN Bay Area)

The Angels are sprinting into the offseason, trying to find takers for Dan Haren and Ervin Santana before they have to pick up their contract options on Wednesday. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Meanwhile, the Yankees began their offseason by exercising options on Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. (AP)

There's another Drew available if you're interested. (AP)

Also on the market: Old friend Alex Gonzalez. (AP)

BOXING
Sugar Ray Leonard, an abuse survivor himself, says he hopes Jerry Sandusky's victims can learn from his story and "speak up, speak out" to help prevent it from happening to someone else. (CSN Philly)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Marcus Lattimore vows: I'll be back. (AP)

It'll be redemption time for the LSU Tigers -- they hope -- on Saturday when Alabama comes to town. (AP)

At least Joker Phillips is maintaining his sense of humor as questions about his job security at Kentucky mount. (AP)

Doesn't sound like Purdue AD Morgan Burke has much of one, though. (AP)

GOLF
Score after their first mano-a-mano match: Rory 1, Tiger 0. (AP)

HOCKEY
Wayne Simmonds is finding there are racists in the stands everywhere. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
At the dawn of a new season, LeBron James' goal remains simple (and humble): "I want to be the best of all time." (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Kurt Helin lists four teams who could stop LeBron and the Heat . . . and, yup, the Celtics are one of them. (Pro Basketball Talk)

There's a new sheriff in town, and the Rockets can feel his energy. (CSN Houston)

And J.J. Watt, for one, can't wait to see him in action. (CSN Houston)

A friend says James Harden was "devastated" at the prospect of leaving Oklahoma City, but Helin can think of 25,000,000 reasons he'll get over it. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Don't expect to see Amar'e Stoudemire for six to eight weeks. (Pro Basketball Talk)

But Kobe on Opening Night? It's allegedly a game-time decision, but who really thinks he won't play? (Pro Basketball Talk)

Okay, floppers: Starting tonight, your time is up. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
The Cardinals dared Alex Smith to beat them. So he did. (CSN Bay Area)

You can get those T-shirts and hats ready for the 49ers, because it's clear no one in the NFC West can stop them. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Michael Vick is still the Eagles quarterback . . . for now. (CSN Philly)

But whether he continues to start or heads to the bench, it's clear this will be Vick's last season in Philadelphia. (Pro Football Talk)

In for a dime, in for a dollar: Rex Ryan doubles down on Mark Sanchez. (Pro Football Talk)

No quarterback issues in Denver, though, where Peyton Manning is even lucky on the injury front these days. (AP)

Being a QB in KC, meanwhile, apparently raises your concussion risk. (AP)

Going under the knife has made Mario Williams feel so much better. (AP)

The Colts got a surprise visit from Chuck Pagano on Monday. (AP)

Ten wins in their last 16 games, dating back to last year, have the Dolphins talking loud and proud. (AP)

That's four straight games the Panthers have led in the fourth quarter, and four straight games they've blown. But Ron Rivera says he's not worried about his job. (AP)

Remember when Bill Belichick listed Tom Brady on the injury report for, like, six straight years with a bum shoulder? Be prepared for the same kind of snit from John Harbaugh now that the NFL has come down on the Ravens for the way they've been filling out their reports. (CSN Baltimore)

Garoppolo: Get the little things corrected, or they'll bite us in the butt

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Garoppolo: Get the little things corrected, or they'll bite us in the butt

 

This felt like a step backward for Jimmy Garoppolo. 

The preseason had been shaping up so nicely for him, too. He'd be able to ride the wave of momentum following his strong performance last week against the Bears, and carry that into Carolina, where he would take on a very good defense on the road. What better way to simulate what he'll see in Week 1 of the regular season in Arizona?

Then something happened. Garoppolo, who looked cool last week at Gillette Stadium, seemed rattled by the Panthers defense. The quarterback who hadn't turned the ball over all preseason very nearly gave it away twice. Whereas he made calculated risks in the red zone last week, this week there were head-scratchers in the same area. 

"Ups and downs," said Garoppolo, who beat the Panthers, 19-17, and finished the game 9-for-15 for 57 yards. "Just little things here and there we need to get corrected. We’ll take care of it."

Garoppolo's first third-down throw foreshadowed what was to come for the Patriots on third down Friday night. He threw what should have been an easy interception for linebacker Luke Kuechly when there was a miscommunication between him and receiver Julian Edelman. 

Edelman stopped and turned for a pass a few yards off the line of scrimmage. Garoppolo targeted him as though he was still moving, hitting Kuechly between the numbers at the Carolina 12-yard line.

The team started the night 0-for-7 on third down.

"It’s my fault. I can’t put it in the linebacker’s hands like that," said Garoppolo, who insisted splitting reps in practice wasn't to his detriment. "It’s just bottom line. Just got to be smart. It’s tight windows, tight throws. Just got to finish with touchdowns."

Later in the game, Garoppolo didn't recognize a Panthers pressure, he took a glancing blow from a defender and escaped the pocket. Rather than throw the football away, he tried to make a positive play and was stripped from behind by linebacker Thomas Davis. 

Patriots running back James White was there to pounce on the ball, and Garoppolo was fortunate to escape with his turnover column clean.  

Still, Garoppolo knows there are adjustments to make. In order to give the Patriots a chance to beat the Cardinals in Week 1, he'll probably have to play better than he did on Friday. 

“We’ll do our best to get in there,” Garoppolo said. “We have two weeks until then and we’ll work. There’s little things here and there. Overall, there’s some good things that we did tonight. 

"We just have to get the little things corrected or they’re going to bite us in the butt. We’re going to work our tails off to get to that point. We’ll get there.”

Running back D.J. Foster making a late push for Patriots roster spot

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Running back D.J. Foster making a late push for Patriots roster spot

CHARLOTTE – D.J. Foster began making his case to stick on the Patriots’ 53-man roster Friday night against the Panthers.

An undrafted pass-catching back from Arizona State who’d missed almost all of training camp with an unknown injury was pretty persuasive. He caught three passes for 33 yards, showing nice burst, carried twice for 9 and returned a punt for 16. He saw his action late in the third with fellow rookie Jacoby Brissett in at quarterback.

Foster punctuated his first reception – an 11-yard screen that Brissett (9-for-9 for 85 yards and a touchdown) – by lowering his shoulder and delivering a blow that Foster said he wanted to “get that adrenaline going.”

“It felt great,” said Foster. “It had been a long time. I was telling some guys, that was the first time I’d gotten hit since college. It felt good to get back out there. The coaches gave me a chance to get out there and show what I could do.”

James White will be the Patriots sub-back (or third down back or pass-catching back or whatever you want to call him) until Dion Lewis returns from his knee malady. But Foster showed the acceleration and quickness that made him such a productive player for the Sun Devils. With 222 receptions for 2,458 yards and another 2,355 on the ground, Foster would fit nicely in an offense like the Patriots that uses the short and intermediate passing game so well.  

He hasn’t had much chance to make a case to stick and the Patriots – with White, LeGarrette Blount, Tyler Gaffney, Brandon Bolden and Joey Iosefa all in the mix – may have to take their chances with releasing Foster and hoping he goes unclaimed so New England can bring him back for their practice squad. It’s a risk, but other teams are encountering the same issues at cutdown time. Do they pluck a player they passed on in the draft and put him on their roster ahead of players they’ve been working with since the spring?

Bill Belichick wasn’t effusive in his praise for Foster but did indicate it was a good opportunity to at least see him in game action.

“We played a couple of guys that haven’t gotten much playing time so we got a chance to look at them,” he explained. “D.J. is one of those so we wanted to give him a few opportunities to handle the ball because he hasn’t done it this year. I thought he did some good things. There are a couple of things that he could do a little better but we’ll look at the film and see how it goes. He did a couple of things with his chances out there.”

To make the most of those chances, Foster said he avoided getting too hyped before getting on the field.  
 
“Just keeping my calm and hearing the playcall and just doing the mechanics and all the fundamentals of being in the backfield (was the focus),” said Foster. "Coach Ivan (Fears, running backs coach) did a great job of keeping me mellow. I felt healthy, I felt really good. I got some punt returns, some kick returns, some special teams. I was seeking contact to get that adrenaline going.

“It’s a long process,” he acknowledged. “Talking to the veteran guys, they said it’s a long process. I knew battling my injury and come back healthy, I came back strong and I felt ready.”

We’ll see if it’s enough to carve out a niche on the roster. The cutdown to 75 players comes Tuesday.