Robson’s weekly pro sports roundup: 2/10-2/16

A look back at the week in sports with Jacob Robson.


(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The NFL Merry Go Round Continues

Quarterback Joe Flacco’s tenure as a Baltimore Raven was brought to a close this week. The Ravens and the Denver Broncos came to a trade agreement on Wednesday, the details of which cannot be disclosed until the new season officially begins on March 13.

One thing is for certain: Flacco is departing for Colorado. This ensures that the Ravens see Lamar Jackson as their quarterback going forward. Jackson was at the helm as the Ravens strung together a strong regular season which saw them reach the playoffs.

The Ravens came up short against the Chargers on Wild Card weekend but throughout the 2018 season, Jackson proved that he was a solid, confident quarterback who can operate outside the pocket, making his offense a force to be reckoned with.

Denver has now created a quarterback conundrum. Experience is always a valued asset in a team, especially at the QB spot, but with this trade, the Broncos have taken on board Flacco’s expensive contract in addition to not having a young quarterback who he could mentor.

The winner of this trade has to be Baltimore; the team is saving money and committing to one of the premier young quarterbacks in the NFL.


Machado and Harper: Super stars in waiting

The MLB and its franchises are in limbo with free agents this offseason. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the biggest names that are currently in the shop window, and both are looking for max contracts that could see them each land a deal worth upwards of $300 million.

It is understood that both Machado and Harper have met with the San Diego Padres, starting an interesting love triangle that could see the last man standing win outright with the most money.

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel is also on the market. The Red Sox and Kimbrel are currently in a stalemate as the organization looks to seek the better financial decision and in turn, the best on-field decision. Kimbrel closed for the Red Sox in their historic 2018 World Series victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is continuing to look unlikely that the Red Sox will sign Kimbrel, opening him up to other teams, to which he will be an attractive asset despite his late-season struggles.


Celtics Win Before NBA All-Star Weekend

A Kyrie-less Boston Celtics won an exciting Eastern Conference matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers, 112-109.

Without the All-Star guard, the Celtics looked to the threesome of Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward to pull them through in Philadelphia. All three combined to score 23, 20 and 26, respectively.

The 76ers had their new man Tobias Harris on the court to go with stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler. Al Horford, who has been able to lock down Embiid in recent matchups, continued that trend as Embiid finished 9-of-22 shooting from the field and just 2-of-8 from behind the arc.

This serves as a confidence booster for the Celtics that they can pull through without Kyrie. Also, the re-emergence of Gordon Hayward over the past few weeks is a sight that Boston fans surely love to see, particularly with the run-up to the playoffs coming swiftly after the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, the midseason break for the NBA has arrived meaning that the All-Star weekend is upon us. For most of us, it is a time of irrelevance and just an opportunity to see the best players in a defenseless matchup of East vs West, complimented by the slam dunk and three-point contests.

Off the court, the future of basketball will be discussed at the annual All-Star Technology Summit.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver introduced a smart jersey; a jersey that is capable of changing the number and name on the back. The jersey, which is not going to be able until around 2038, was part of the new fan experience that the NBA is using to attract ‘Gen-Z’ fans.


Manchester United and Arsenal Fall, Chelsea and Tottenham Win

Reaching the middle of February means the re-introduction of the Champions League and Europa League for soccer fans around the world, this time for the knockout stages.

Manchester United’s unbeaten run under new manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer came to a sudden halt as French giants Paris Saint Germain came out on top, 2-0.

20-year-old Kylian Mbappe put in a scintillating performance against United’s defensive line, causing them problems throughout the game. Mbappe put the contest beyond doubt as he finished off a Angel Di Maria cross after sprinting through the United defense.

Tottenham Hotspur cruised past German side Borussia Dortmund in a dominant display at Wembley Stadium, winning 3-0.

Without star striker Harry Kane, Spurs looked comfortable as South Korean Son Heung-min led the forward line. Son, who has been involved in 16 goals in his last 12 games for Spurs, scored Tottenham’s first goal. After a first half ending in a deadlock, Spurs put in a terrific second-half performance as Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente joined Son in the scoring.

Meanwhile, Arsenal was shocked in their Europa League tie against Belarusan side Bate Borisov, finishing in a 1-0 loss for the English side.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery named a strong starting eleven, but came up short. In a frustrating game, Arsenal had 77 percent of possession and had 18 shots at goal compared to Bate’s six. After conceding a Stanislav Dragun goal just before half-time, Arsenal was thwarted by Bate’s resolute defense throughout the second half which saw French striker Alexandre Lacazette sent off for a second bookable offense five minutes from time.

Chelsea came through a potentially tricky encounter at Swedish side Malmo, to win 2-1 in their first game of the Europa League knockout match.

After the 6-0 loss to Manchester City last weekend, Chelsea ensured that another banana skin wasn’t slipped on. Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud scored on either side of half time respectively before Malmo’s Anders Christiansen scored on the 80th minute, making it a tough remainder of the game for the boys from London.

Follow Jacob on Twitter @jacoborobson and on Instagram @jacoboliverrobson.

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