Bradley Chubb

Bradley Chubb thinks rookie sack record is “attainable”

Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb has 12 sacks in his rookie year. He’s only 2.5 sacks from tying Jevon Kearse’s rookie record of 14.5. Chubb thinks he can get there.

“Since I’m this close, it seems like it’s a goal that is attainable,” Chubb told reporters on Thursday. “I’m just going to go out there and play my game, and if it happens, it happens. But if it doesn’t, it’s cool. At the end of the day, I’m going to try and get it, but I’m not going to force it. I’m going to play pass on every play and stuff like that. It’ll be a great achievement though. Great for me, great for the team, great for everybody. So, it’s something that’s definitely in my sights, but it’s not something I’m going to try and go out of my way to get.”

Kearse set the record as a rookie with the Titans in 1999.

“I’ve recently started doing more research on him,” Chubb said of Kearse. “As I was coming into the NFL and stuff, because a lot of people was telling me about the record and all that, that’s how I knew the number. But I never really watched him play or anything like that — not his rookie year. I watched some of towards the end of his career, but I never really studied or stuff like that.”

Bradley Chubb

Chubb didn’t enter the season expecting to challenge Kearse.

“I never really would’ve actually saw it happening,” Chubb said. “Right now, it’s been all surreal, been a blessing. I’m just trying to maintain as much as I can and just go out there and make plays. Like I said, if it happens, it happens. But if it doesn’t, then it’s all good. I’m still impressed with my season, and this is going to be a lot for next year.”

Chubb and Von Miller have become a potent pair of pass rushers. With Miller’s 14.5 sacks, they have 26.5 between them.

Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr: ‘We’re not moving the ball;’ Kevin Durant: ‘We pass the ball too much’

When he took over for Mark Jackson as Golden State coach, Steve Kerr emphasized pace, spacing and ball and player movement offensively. The Warriors’ scoring skyrocketed, and they became the juggernaut we now know.

Then, they added Kevin Durant.

Ever since, there has been a give and take. Kerr and the Warriors – including Durant – still like to run, spread the floor and share the ball. But Durant is also great in isolation and sometimes reverts to that. Remember, Durant’s and Draymond Green‘s infamous argument earlier this season stemmed from a play where Green wanted to push the ball up-court then pass to an open player while Durant wanted to control the ball himself.

The latest disconnect in offensive style came after Golden State’s 108-103 loss to the Jazz last night. The Warriors had just 266 passes and 18 assists, marks that would rank last or near last per game in the NBA this season.

Kerr, via Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“We’re not moving the ball,” Kerr said after watching his club shoot 40 percent from the field, including 10-for-31 (32.3 percent) from three-point range. “We’re not playing the way we’ve played the last few years, where the ball is really moving and we’re taking great shots.”

Durant and Kerr have disagreed after a loss before, and they still came together to win a championship. It’s a long season. This needn’t necessarily blow up into something huge.

But this is the most detached Durant and Kerr have seemed on this issue. With Durant’s free agency looming, his alignment with Golden State justifiably gets put under the microscope. This shouldn’t be ignored.

Durant views basketball a certain way. He values getting buckets in a way that doesn’t neatly overlap with Kerr’s philosophy. I’m not sure that will ever completely change.

But both sides can continue to work to meet in the middle. Durant reportedly left the Thunder, in part, due to frustration over Russell Westbrook commandeering the offense. Yet, Durant must do more to get the ball within a free-flowing system. He can be too stagnant. Durant has shown an eagerness to expand his game, and maybe Golden State can sell him on this being the next skill to develop.

Steve Kerr

The Warriors are at their best when running Kerr’s equalitarian offense. Green and Klay Thompson particularly perform better in that structure. Stephen Curry too, though he’s good enough to play multiple ways. But, as Durant said, opponents have become more adept at stopping it. Everyone has copied the Warriors, so defenses have adjusted. Durant isolating is a great alternative against defenses slowing Kerr’s preferred system. But Durant is also far too talented to be pigeonholed as Golden State’s last resort.

To some degree, these are first-world problems. Whatever the Warriors are doing, it’s working.

They still lead the league in assists per game (27.6). They still rank fourth in passes per game (309.8). They still rank second in points per 100 possession (113.0, just behind the Bucks’ 113.2).

And, of course, Golden State has won two championships in Durant’s two years there. The Warriors are favored to win another this season.

Most teams would kill to have these offensive problems.

But with Durant’s impending free agency, how he feels matters greatly. Golden State must continue to work to get on the same page with him.

Tough road

Tough road ahead for Predators

For one thing, they’ve dealt with some serious injuries. P.K. Subban‘s missed a lot of time, with the hope that he’ll be back soon. They’ve often been without two-thirds of their top line, as injuries have also struck Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson.

You also wonder if there’s at least a slight threat of complacency, as most fans and onlookers are more interested in how they fare in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs after seeing them win a Presidents’ Trophy last season and reach the 2017 Stanley Cup Final the year before.

It’s a testament to Peter Laviolette, David Poile, Pekka Rinne, Roman Josi, and other key figures that the Predators remain neck-and-neck with the healthier Winnipeg Jets for the Central Division lead, as Nashville only trails Winnipeg by a single standings point.

Unfortunately, that gap could grow in the near future, and with the Colorado Avalanche hovering just two points behind them, the Predators risk some slippage heading into 2019.

While there’s some optimism about Subban maybe returning soon, the Predators may be without Arvidsson and Forsberg for quite a bit longer, which is troubling because Nashville’s mostly on the road until mid-January.

That’s nine of their next 12 games on the road, which isn’t super-promising since Nashville’s stout at Bridgestone Arena (14-5-0) but more ordinary away from home (8-6-2). The Predators also face three back-to-back sets to close out 2018 and begin 2019.

This isn’t to say the sky is falling. Arvidsson is skating, so perhaps he’ll be able to play during a portion of those games, potentially giving Nashville a significant shot in the arm. It’s also true that there’s a holiday break in that mix, which (ideally) would help alleviate some of the struggles. Also, 8-6-2 isn’t a world-beating road record, but it’s not the sort of mark that would lead you to believe that the Predators will totally fall apart.

There might be smaller, subtler impacts that eventually matter, however.

The Avalanche are only two points behind the Predators (both with 35 games played), and they’ll eventually get more home games than road, as they’ve played 20 away from home and just 15 in Colorado so far in 2018-19.

Tough road

This opens up an uneasy scenario for Nashville: Colorado may very well make up enough ground so that the Avs get the second seed in the Central, not Nashville. That might not sound like a big deal, but remember that a) the high elevation could already give the Avalanche a larger home-ice advantage than usual and b) an additional home game could help Colorado engineer easier matchups for their deadly top line, even if it would be for four games if a best-of-seven went the distance, rather than three.

Of course, a lot can change as the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs approach. The Jets could be the ones slipping, or a different Central team could make a meteoric rise.

Still, in a league of considerable parity – and an NHL where fates can sometimes turn on a dime, like we’ve seen with teams like the Kings and Sabres – it can be interesting to pinpoint potential fork-in-the-road moments.

The Predators have passed plenty of tests to show that they’re a legitimate contender in the modern NHL, so maybe this will just be another hurdle that they’ll clear. Even so, we may learn quite a bit about the 2018-19 edition of this team over the next few weeks.

Copyright 2019 Talk 605 | All Right Reserved.