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Postby liny195 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:12 am
Gareon Conley is ready for a fresh start.

The 2017 first-round pick who was expected to become the shutdown cornerback Oakland has lacked for years had his first season derailed by injuries that limited him to just two games as a rookie and created a void in the Raiders secondary.

”I feel like it’s still my rookie year because I didn’t play a lot Sebastian Janikowski Color Rush Jersey ,” Conley said Tuesday. ”I learned a lot mentally. I feel like it’s my second year mentally knowing the game and the logistics. But physically I feel like it’s my rookie year again because I didn’t play a lot.”

Conley is a key part of a revamped secondary that brings back just one cornerback who played at least 100 snaps on defense last year in Dexter McDonald, who is a longshot to make the team in 2018.

David Amerson and Sean Smith were let go and TJ Carrie left for Cleveland in free agency. In their place are free agent acquisitions Rashaan Melvin, Daryl Worley and Leon Hall, as well as draft pick Nick Nelson.

But perhaps the most important member of that group will be Conley, who is being counted on to provide the lockdown coverage Oakland has been missing ever since Nnamdi Asomugha left seven years ago.

”He’s showing why he was the first-round pick,” safety Reggie Nelson said. ”I think there’s a high standard out there for him and he’s holding that up. I think Conley is doing a great job right now doing what the coaches ask him to do. … He just has tight coverage. A great little athlete. He’s going to be great in this game. Just keep learning and playing ball.”

Conley wasn’t able to do much as a rookie after being drafted 24th overall out of Ohio State despite a rape allegation that surfaced shortly before the draft but ended up with no charges being filed.

Conley was impressive in offseason workouts last year before hurting his shin in minicamp in June. That injury lingered and kept Conley sidelined for all of training camp.

He managed to work his way back and made it on the field for his NFL debut in Week 2 but said he was never completely healthy. Conley showed flashes of his ability the first time he was targeted with a pass when he made an acrobatic breakup against the New York Jets and nearly tipped the ball to Nelson for an interception.

But he played only one more game, finishing the season with just 93 defensive snaps and seven tackles. In 53 snaps of coverage, Conley allowed just four catches for 35 yards, according to SportRadar.

”I feel like I played all right but I feel like I could play way better watching film Anthony Miller Color Rush Jersey ,” Conley said. ”I had a couple of good plays but I had a lot of bad plays, too.”

Conley tried to work his way back by taking time off practice but never completely healed and eventually needed season-ending surgery.

He was limited at the start of the offseason program this year but is now back to full speed and showing the Raiders why he was so coveted coming out of college.

”It’s been a dark world that he’s been in, this young man,” coach Jon Gruden said. ”He had a terrible injury he had to rehab from. He’s had to change coaches, learn a new system. It’s been a slow, steady process but man he’s a good player. When he’s feeling good, you can see why we picked him No. 1.”

NOTES: Rookie T Brandon Parker and DL Fadol Brown got into a fight during a two-minute drill late in practice and Gruden sent Brown off the field and to the weight room. ”I didn’t like what happened today, particularly in the situation. … We’re in a two-minute drill to win the game and we got a guy ejected for fighting,” Gruden said. … S Marcus Gilchrist sat out with a minor calf injury.



The Indiana Pacers saw Aaron Holiday as a perfect fit even before Thursday night’s NBA Draft.

They liked his scoring potential and his commitment to defense. They were impressed by his basketball wits and his family’s athletic successes. And http://www.ramsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-john-kelly-jersey , they figured, he could make a smooth transition from college to the pros by blending into the Pacers’ locker room culture.

So when they finally got a chance to make an offseason move, the decision-makers didn’t hesitate to take a potential point guard of the future.

”He’s a tough guy, he prides himself on playing on the defensive end of the floor and he comes from a successful basketball family,” coach Nate McMillan said after adding Holiday with the No. 23 overall pick. ”He was the guy we had at the top of our board.”

The only problem was McMillan and president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard never got to see the 6-foot-1, 185-pound UCLA star up close in Indy.

McMillan said he was didn’t know why Holiday didn’t make it to Indianapolis for a pre-draft workout, and neither Holiday nor Pritchard provided an explanation either.

But Pacers scouts met with Holiday at the draft combine and did enough homework to know passing on Holiday so late in the draft probably would have been a mistake for a team needing more scoring help now and a potential void if Indiana’s top two point guards become free agents next summer.

The 21-year-old Holiday brings a solid resume to a team he’s already has some familiarity with.

Indiana’s two draft picks last year, T.J. Leaf and Ike Anigbogu, also played at UCLA. So did starting point guard Darren Collison http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-taron-johnson-jersey , a college teammate of Jrue Holiday, one of Aaron Holiday’s two older brothers who currently play in the NBA. Collison, who turns 32 in August, can become a free agent next summer.

”We look at Darren (Collison) and Holiday and see a lot of similarities,” Pritchard said. ”We see speed. We see elite shooting and we were shocked he (Holiday) was there.”

Holiday averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 42.2 percent on 3-pointers last season, becoming the first Bruins player to lead the Pac-12 in scoring since former Pacers star Reggie Miller in 1985-86. Holiday was named first-team all-conference and was chosen to the Pac-12’s all-defensive team.

What really sold the Pacers on him, though, was how they believed he would mesh in a locker room brimming with confidence and hope after last year’s surprise season.

Most analysts thought the Pacers would be a lottery team after trading All-Star Paul George to Oklahoma City for shooting guard Victor Oladipo and backup forward Domantas Sabonis in July.

Instead Minkah Fitzpatrick Color Rush Jersey , Oladipo made his first All-Star appearance, led Indiana to 48 wins and was named one of three finalists for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. The Pacers even pushed eventual Eastern Conference champion Cleveland to a seventh game in the playoffs.

Sabonis also emerged as a valuable piece off the bench in his second NBA season, and they expect 22-year-old center Myles Turner to improve heading into next season.

”Somebody who’s going to come in and play hard, a playmaker who shoots the ball and a hard worker,” Holiday said, describing what the Pacers are getting.

Indiana also took 6-9, 212-pound forward Alize Johnson, who averaged a double-double in both seasons he played at Missouri State, at No. 50 overall. The 22-year-old Johnson averaged 15.0 points last season and finished fifth nationally in rebounds (11.6) and eighth nationally in double-doubles (20) after starting his prep career as a 5-9 point guard.

Holiday could be another critical piece for a team facing a potentially intriguing offseason.

Pritchard confirmed backup point guard Cory Joseph already has decided to return to Indy next season. The Pacers also could exercise team options on guards Lance Stephenson and Joe Young. Starting forward Thaddeus Young Manny Pina Milwaukee Brewers Jersey , meanwhile, continues to wrestle with a decision to stay with the Pacers for $13.7 million or test free agency. Pritchard wants him back.

Indiana also could have as much as $30 million to play with in free agency and enough flexibility to invest in the trade market. Pritchard said they considered offers during the draft and acknowledged the team was ”hunting” one unidentified player before deciding the cost would be too prohibitive.

Besides, Pritchard considers doesn’t want to do anything to break up the team chemistry and he believes Holiday’s presence will work just fine in that role.

”I think he’s confident but my gut feeling is that he knows he doesn’t know everything yet,” Pritchard said when asked why he’d fit in. ”We love when a guy says, `I want to be great and I’ll do whatever it takes to be great.”’



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