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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hunter Pence herded his teammates into the center of a clubhouse that was ready to pop. As the Giants hollered and hugged, he kept asking: “Is everybody here? Is everybody here?”
They were, wildly shaking their bottles of bubbly. And with that, Pence shouted the command.
Suddenly, the spray of success soaked this bunch of World Series winners from San Francisco. Pence was in the middle of it all, as always, and Pablo Sandoval wasn’t far behind Wednesday night after the Giants beat Kansas City 3-2 in Game 7.
Pence and Panda, champions again.
A day earlier, after the Royals romped 10-0 to force a deciding game, Sandoval didn’t seem concerned. As he bopped out of the locker room, he shouted to his pal Pence, “Love you, my ninja!”
Popular for their personalities, they endeared themselves to Giants fans with their production against the Royals.
Pence hit .444, scoring seven runs and driving in five. In the winner-take-all game, the all-out outfielder got two hits and scored a run.
Sandoval batted .429 in the Series, scoring six and driving in four. He went 3 for 3 in Game 7, doubled and scored twice.
The 2012 World Series MVP was cheered on by four fans near the San Francisco dugout wearing giant Panda heads – he’s nicknamed Kung Fu Panda.
Whether Sandoval’s boosters get to see him play at AT&T Park next year is uncertain. At 28, the two-time All-Star third baseman can become a free agent and cash in big.
“As far as what happens, I don’t know,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s obvious I love this kid, too.”
“I’ve had him since he came up, and hopefully something gets done. But these are things that take care of themselves in the winter,” he said.
Sandoval completed a three-year contract that guaranteed him $17.15 million, and the Giants have a history of paying to keep their core together.
Pence was in the first season of a $90 million, five-year deal, and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, limited to one postseason appearance after struggling with his effectiveness, has one season remaining in a $35 million, two-year contract.
Sandoval earned his third championship ring. In 2010, he lost his spot to Juan Uribe in the World Series and played just once in the five-game win over Texas. In 2012, he hit three home runs against Detroit in the opener.
“Well, his role in the first one, it diminished. We put Juan at third base,” Bochy said. “But the last two, you know, great players, they have a way of rising to the occasion.”
“He did that. You could see a difference in Pablo once his postseason started. His focus, his third base play was as good as I’ve seen from any third baseman. That’s what I’m proud of about him, is how he made himself such a good defender,” he said.
Sandoval wound up with the final ball, catching a foul popup by Salvador Perez with a runner on third base to end it. As he gathered underneath it, Sandoval said there was no time to consider what the grab would mean.
“You don’t think,” he said. “You just catch it.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Madison Bumgarner’s World Series performance earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame – well, at least for his caps.
The San Francisco Giants ace donated to the Hall caps he wore during his Game 1 and 5 wins against Kansas City plus his hat from his Game 7 save Wednesday night.
The Hall said it also collected the spikes of Game 7 winner Jeremy Affeldt plus Buster Posey’s bat from the World Series finale and Pablo Sandoval’s jersey.
Hunter Pence’s bat from Game 4, when he had three hits and three RBIs, also is headed to the Hall, located in Cooperstown, New York.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Madison Bumgarner was limbering up at Kauffman Stadium this week, getting loose with his San Francisco teammates near the dugout, when Tim Hudson and Michael Morse sneaked up from behind and ruffled the pitcher’s long, scraggly locks.
That was way too hairy for Bumgarner. He quickly spun and playfully sparred with the mischief makers.
They were about the only ones who could touch Bumgarner in this World Series.
“Yeah, it was hopeless,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost acknowledged.
The 25-year-old Bumgarner capped off a most splendid October and earned MVP honors Wednesday night, pitching five scoreless innings of relief in Game 7 as the Giants held off the Kansas City Royals 3-2.
Moments after he retired Salvador Perez on a foul pop with a runner on third base for the final out, Bumgarner insisted he wasn’t worn down. About a half-hour later, he felt a bit differently.
“You know what? I can’t lie to you anymore,” he said. “I’m a little tired now.”
Bumgarner earned a sensational save to go along with two sparkling wins as a starter in the Series. That on top of being MVP of the NL Championship Series and pitching a record 52 2-3 innings in this postseason.
Put it this way: Bumgarner threw two shutouts in October, starting with a win at Pittsburgh in the NL wild-card game. Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann was the only other starter to reach the ninth inning this postseason, and he got pulled.
All tremendous accomplishments, but hard to tell from observing or listening to the 6-foot-5 Bumgarner. He shows virtually no emotion on the mound, blowing his nose as if no one is watching, and seems to be the only person unimpressed by what he’s done.
Funny thing, the slow-moving lefty was carrying an energy bar with him when he kidded around with Hudson and Morse before Game 6.
“He’s such a humble guy, and we rode him pretty good,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“It’s historic what this kid has done,” he said. “Really, truly amazing.”
After winning the opener with seven impressive innings, Bumgarner threw a shutout in Game 5. And when the Royals forced a Game 7, there was little doubt that the guy called MadBum would be called on to pitch again on two days’ rest.
But five innings? Who would’ve believed that?
“Innings, I wasn’t thinking about innings or pitch count. I was just thinking about getting outs, getting outs until I couldn’t get them anymore and we needed someone else,” Bumgarner said. “Fortunately, was able to get some quick innings and I was able to stay in there.”
He gave up two hits, retired 14 in a row, and got 15 outs – that matched how many outs opposing starters Tim Hudson and Jeremy Guthrie combined to get.
Bumgarner boosted his World Series stats to numbers never seen before: 4-0 with a save and an 0.25 ERA, along with three championship rings. In 36 innings, he’s allowed just one run and 14 hits, striking out 31 and walking five.
Bumgarner wound up slinging 68 pitches, and finished with 270 innings this season. He went 4-1 with a 1.03 ERA in the postseason – .
Last weekend, former broadcaster and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver paid tribute to the Giants ace.
“It’s Gibson-esque, if you will. I know Bob could do that and I saw that from a 60-feet, 6-inch view of him every outing he threw in the World Series. I see the same thing in Bumgarner. I really admire that,” McCarver said.
Before Game 7, Jack Morris also praised Bumgarner. Morris knows well about Game 7 – always intense on the mound, he threw a 10-inning shutout in 1991 to lift Minnesota over Atlanta.
“I want to hug him,” Morris said near the backstop, a couple hours before game time. “He’s my kind of guy.”
“He’s got the same emotions, he just doesn’t show them. He’s got a big furnace burning right now,” he said.
A lot of stamina, too.
But in this era when pitch counts are so precious, Bumgarner wasn’t worried about his arm in Game 7. And if he was OK, so was Bochy.
“In fact, I was staying away from him every inning,” Bochy said, “because I was hoping he wouldn’t go, `I’m starting to get a little tired,’ because there’s no way I would have taken him out unless he would have told me that.”
Giants catcher Buster Posey said there wasn’t much conversation on the bench with Bochy, Bumgarner and pitching coach Dave Righetti, either.
“Not much of anything. I think everybody could see how good he was,” Posey said. “They weren’t putting great swings on him.”
No, they weren’t.
“We probably would have won if they didn’t have him,” Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain said. “But they do have him.”
Kadlec, known affectionately as “Mr. Mizzou” to most Tiger fans, earned that moniker because of his long-standing dedication to his alma mater that spanned more than 50 years as a player, coach, administrator and broadcaster.
He first came to Mizzou from his native St. Louis to play football for Hall of Fame Coach Don Faurot in 1947. After earning his degree from MU, he stayed on as a graduate assistant coach for Faurot, and he coached the freshman team until 1954 when he moved up to varsity, where he served through 1969. After a stint at Kansas State from 1960-66, Kadlec returned to Mizzou to serve on the staffs of Dan Devine and Al Onofrio, coaching from 1966-77 on the Tiger sideline.
After his coaching days ended, Kadlec returned to Kansas State as Director of Development, before coming home to Mizzou in 1986 as Director of the Tiger Scholarship Fund, and he was a fixture in Columbia ever since in numerous roles for Athletics, most closely associated with fundraising.
In 1995, Kadlec entered an exciting new venture almost accidentally, when he became the color analyst for Mizzou Football games on the Tiger Radio Network as an emergency replacement when the spot came open unexpectedly just days before the season opener. At the request of former Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione, Kadlec joined Mike Kelly on the call for what he thought would be a one-game stint that ended up lasting 16 seasons in all, until he put down the microphone after the 2010 season.
Kadlec was a 1996 inductee into the MU Athletics Hall of Fame, and in 2005, the grass practice fields behind the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex were named in his honor.
Service information is not yet finalized, but will be passed along as soon as it is available.
Tiger fans are invited to share their memories of Coach Kadlec by visiting the following Facebook site http://bit.ly/KadlecFB.
Here are some of his most well-known calls with long-time broadcast partner Mike Kelly:
2002 Game – MU vs. Illinois
2010 Game – Kick-off return (MU vs. Oklahoma)
2003 Game – MU vs. Nebraska (fake field goal touchdown)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Madison Bumgarner is ready to pitch in for Game 7.
The biggest World Series ace of all plans to be in the bullpen Wednesday night, just in case the San Francisco Giants need him against the Kansas City Royals for an out or two.
Or possibly a few more.
Asked how many pitches he could throw in relief, MadBum tossed out a playful estimate: “I said maybe 200.”
From the outset Tuesday night in Game 6, there was little doubt this Series was headed to the limit.
The Royals turned bloops, bouncers and a botched grounder into a blowout, scoring seven runs in the second inning. Rookie Yordano Ventura, pitching with the initials of late St. Louis outfielder Oscar Taveras on his cap, cruised to a 10-0 rout.
Now, a true treat for everyone: A winner-take-all matchup, with Jeremy Guthrie pitching for the Royals against Tim Hudson – at 39, Hudson will be the oldest Game 7 starter ever.
“I mean, Game 7s are always special,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “As kids, what I fall back on is when I was 10 years old, hitting rocks in the backyard, trying to hit it over the fence for a home run.”
“I never one time thought, `OK, bases loaded, two out, bottom of the ninth, Game 5 of the World Series, you know? Never. It was always two outs, bottom of the ninth, Game 7 of the World Series, you know?”
San Francisco outfielder Hunter Pence echoed that.
“A Game 7 in the World Series is a gift for everyone. It’s pretty special. It’s like incredibly entertaining for fans, incredibly entertaining for the world and the game of baseball,” Pence said.
Even Jake Peavy, who had a chance to clinch San Francisco’s third title in five years but didn’t make it through the second inning, could appreciate what was on deck.
“Who doesn’t want a Game 7?” Peavy said. “That being said, we wanted to get it done tonight. I wanted to get it done.”
Instead, someone else might become a baseball immortal.
Maybe someone hits a home run to end Game 7, the way Bill Mazeroski did in 1960. Or there’s a tremendous pitching performance, like the 10-inning shutout Jack Morris threw in 1991. Or a surprise ending, the way Arizona stunned Mariano Rivera in 2001.
Recent history favors Kansas City. Home teams have won nine straight Game 7s in the Series since Pittsburgh’s victory at Baltimore in 1979, including Kansas City’s 11-0 romp past St. Louis at this very same stadium in 1985.
The Giants have lost all four times the World Series went the distance. In 2002, Barry Bonds & Co. lost at the Angels.
“For both teams winning the wild-card game … all the different series just to get to this point and to get to Game 7, it’s been one remarkable ride for guys in this locker room and guys in their locker room,” Giants designated hitter Michael Morse said.
“To come down to Game 7 is amazing,” he said. “It just tells you what kind of teams these are. It’s been a battle every game. Why not go to Game 7?”
Said Hudson: “I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow and have some fun.”
Hudson, in fact, signed as a free agent with the Giants in the offseason for this chance. For all his success elsewhere, he had never reached the World Series.
Neither had hardly any of the Royals, playing with other teams.
“I don’t there is any butterflies. I think tonight proved that. We’re all made for this. We’re a championship team,” Kansas City reliever Tim Collins said.
“We’ve been waiting for this a long time. The city has been waiting for this a long time. We’re not nervous. We’re a tough team. With our backs against the wall, we came out and proved we’re ready,” he said.
The wild card in this final game is Bumgarner.
By winning the opener and then pitching a shutout in Game 5, the Giants lefty established himself as an October great. How else to describe a pitcher who’s 4-0 with an 0.29 ERA in four World Series starts, allowing just one run in 31 innings?
Giants manager Bruce Bochy certainly heard calls from some San Francisco fans that Bumgarner should start Game 7, albeit on two days’ rest.
“This guy is human. I mean, you can’t push him that much,” Bochy said. “He’ll be available if we need him, but to start him, I think that’s asking a lot.”
Speedy Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson says his team is ready, regardless of who’s on the mound against them.
These are the two most exciting words in sports – Game 7.
“We’re going to make history. The only way to make history is to win. We’ve got to win tomorrow. That’s our goal, to win,” he said. “If we win, we can be in the history books.”
(Kansas City) (AP) – There was a moment of silence before Game 6 of the World Series to honor Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who died in an automobile accident last weekend in the Dominican Republic.
The 22-year-old Taveras, who made his big league debut this season, was buried earlier Tuesday in a funeral attended by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak.
Royals starter Yordano Ventura, who was close friends with Taveras from their days in the minor leagues, paid tribute to the late outfielder by writing “RIP O.T” on his blue cap. Ventura also wrote “(hash)18,” the number that Taveras wore when he played in the minors.
“When we would play against each other, we’d go over to each other’s houses and hang out during the minor league season,” Ventura said Monday. “I consider myself a friend of his, and my thoughts are with the family and of all of those who know him.”
During the moment of silence, Taveras’ picture was shown on the large scoreboard in center field at Kauffman Stadium, where he played two games during an interleague series this summer.
Officials are still investigating the cause of Sunday’s accident on a highway in the popular tourist region of Puerto Plata. Taveras’ 18-year-old girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, was also killed when the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro he was driving crashed north of Santo Domingo.
Taveras signed with the Cardinals as an international free agent in 2008, and he rocketed through their farm system. He was ranked the No. 3 overall prospect by Baseball America prior to this season, and wound up making his big league debut and playing in 80 games.
He batted .239 with three home runs in 80 games, then delivered a pinch-hit homer that tied Game 2 of the NL Championship Series against San Francisco.
Taveras was due to travel next month to Florida, the site of the Cardinals’ spring training facility, and then continue his development in the Dominican Winter League.
“Obviously, we’re a fraternity. When you meet somebody who does what you do, you get the news obviously we got, it’s beyond heartbreaking,” Giants pitcher Jake Peavy said. “Spoke to a couple guys who played with him and sent out our regards. But yeah, just want to make this clear that we are obviously thinking about the St. Louis Cardinals and the Taveras family and our MLB family.”
DALLAS (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko missed the St. Louis Blues’ practice on Monday because he was sick.
The Dallas Stars weren’t feeling very good on Tuesday night after Tarasenko scored 1:28 into overtime to complete a hat trick and St. Louis’ 4-3 victory.
Three times Dallas took one-goal leads in regulation play, and three times the Blues tied the score. The first two tying goals came within 37 seconds of Stars scores.
St. Louis had a 4-on-3 power play after Dallas’ Tyler Seguin went off for high sticking 14 seconds into overtime. Tarasenko took a pass from Alex Pietrangelo at the top of the right faceoff circle and fired the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.
“We work on it in practice sometimes, so that’s what it looked like,” Tarasenko said.
“He played at 50 percent on Saturday,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He wasn’t himself, and then to come back and play that’s pretty impressive.
Tarasenko also had an assist on Jori Lehtera’s second-period goal, and Lehtera assisted on two of Tarasenko’s goals.
“We played together in Russia, so it was fun to play on the same line every time. We have some chemistry.”
The hat trick was the 22-year-old Tarasenko’s first in the NHL. He has had five two-goal games, including one in the playoffs.
“It’s good, but thanks to my teammates for letting me do this,” Tarasenko said about his hat trick.
Dallas’ goals were by Jamie Oleksiak, Seguin and Trevor Daley. It was Oleksiak’s first career goal. Daley’s was his fourth this season on the power play.
St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott made 25 saves. Lehtonen had 23.
The Blues had failed to score on their first four power plays before Tarasenko connected. St. Louis had a 5-on-3 advantage for 53 seconds in the second period, but Dallas killed both penalties.
All of Daley’s goals this season have been on the power play. He took a pass from Alex Goligoski, settled the puck on his stick in the left faceoff circle and shot into the upper left corner of the net past Blues goalie Brian Elliott.
The goal at 3:27 of the third was only the 13th on the power play for Daley, who had no more than two in any of his first 10 seasons.
The Stars have scored on the power play in six straight games. The Blues have allowed one in five in a row.
Tarasenko’s game-tying goal at 11:37 of the third came when he took a pass from Lehtera, skated into the right circle, moved the puck to his forehand and shot past Lehtonen.
Tarasenko had countered Oleksiak’s goal at 13:10 of the first period with one at 13:45, 35 seconds later.
In the second, Seguin scored at 5:28, followed by Lehtera’s goal at 6:05, 37 seconds later.
“Giveaways,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said about St. Louis’ rapid-response goals.
“I was so impressed with the work ethic of our team, but then again, up here,” he said, pointing to his head, “hurt us. It’s my job to help them.”
Seguin, who entered the game as the NHL’s individual scoring leader, had a goal and an assist. In nine games, he has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists).
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Buster Posey was annoyed. Playfully so. The Giants catcher wanted Madison Bumgarner to do more than barely break a smile after a brilliant pitching performance put San Francisco one win from another World Series title.
No way, Buster.
Because in this postseason full of stars and surprises, who knows? Heck, Bumgarner might still have more work to do.
Baseball took its final break Monday before the Giants and Royals settle things. Holding a 3-2 edge, San Francisco will try to claim its third championship in five years Tuesday night when the wild-card matchup resumes at Kansas City.
“We’re trying to grind this thing out, the way we have for what feels like forever now,” Jake Peavy, who starts Game 6 for the Giants, said before Monday night’s workout at Kauffman Stadium. “Not even sure of the date, the day. Doesn’t matter.”
The day off gave fans a chance to savor what they’d already seen in the past month, and there was plenty – the success of Bumgarner, Lorenzo Cain and Yusmeiro Petit, the struggles of Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout and Detroit’s aces, a rack of tight games and one that went 18 innings.
“Clayton who? MadBum!” one man yelled as he exited AT&T Park after the Giants won 5-0 Sunday night.
Could be a lot more cooking in this October oven, too.
Maybe Ned Yost even had it right.
“Oh, man, somewhere inside of me, secretly I had hoped that it would go seven games for the excitement and the thrill of it,” the Kansas City manager said after a loss in Game 4. “Sure looks that way.”
Perhaps it’s only fitting this Fall Classic ends at Kauffman Stadium, a place hosting playoff baseball for the first time in 29 years. The Royals started this pulsating postseason at home with a 9-8 comeback win in 12 innings over Oakland in the AL wild-card game, a thriller that began on the last day of September and nearly stretched into October.
That captivating night in Kansas City set the stage for a month to remember: dramatic finishes, favorites falling and underdogs overachieving, stars slipping and new ones shining.
What happens next is anybody’s guess. After all, the last time Game 6 of the World Series came to Kansas City, one of the most surreal scenes in baseball history unfolded: first base umpire Don Denkinger’s botched call serving as the signature moment of the 1985 World Series won by the Royals over St. Louis.
“We know we can do it,” Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “We’re a confident group. But we can’t do anything without winning Game 6. We’re excited to get back home where we feed off the fans and that energy.”
Royals rookie Yordano Ventura starts against the veteran Peavy – not exactly the matchup many would’ve predicted in April.
But the majors’ most notable names during the regular season – Dodgers ace Kershaw and Angels slugger Trout – flamed out fast in the Division Series. A trio of Cy Young winners didn’t do enough for Detroit. Injuries slowed down former Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.
Even playoff-proven starter Jon Lester looked lost under October’s bright lights for the one-and-done Athletics. Plus up-and-coming starter Stephen Strasburg showed he still has to polish his postseason poise for the Nationals.
Instead, these playoffs bred a new batch of baseball darlings: Cain and the running Royals, starter-turned-reliever Petit and a pair of blazing bullpens no longer overlooked in the World Series.
Of course, no star has burned brighter than a 25-year-old lefty from North Carolina, the one who peeved Posey with his tempered postgame reaction.
Bumgarner’s dominant performances in Game 1 and Game 5 – not to mention in every previous round of the playoffs – has put San Francisco one win away from another parade down Market Street, something Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and generations of Giants fans had dreamed of for so long.
Now it’s becoming an every-other-year tradition. And if the Giants don’t win Game 6, there’s always a chance Bumgarner could emerge from the bullpen to help out in Game 7.
Royals rookie Brandon Finnegan might understand the topsy-turvy nature of these playoffs better than anyone.
Only four months after he pitched in the College World Series, the 21-year-old reliever got two key outs in the seventh inning as Kansas City won Game 3. A night later, Finnegan failed to bridge the gap to the back end of the bullpen, allowing five runs in an 11-4 loss to San Francisco.
“Baseball can pick you up quickly,” Finnegan said, “and hit you in the gut quickly.”
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Greg Robinson didn’t start until last week. Now, the St. Louis Rams will really be leaning on the No. 2 overall pick of the draft after injuries to offensive linemen Jake Long and Rodger Saffold.
Robinson, who had been working at guard with Long at tackle, was a bit shaky after being thrust to tackle at Kansas City on Sunday. But Rams coach Jeff Fisher has full confidence in the Auburn product.
“I thought he was fine,” Fisher said. “He had some issues, they have outstanding rushers, but he was strong and stout and that’s what he does. He’ll have a week to work on the footwork and things like that this week, but he went out there and knew what to do and came out of the stack on a screen and executed a block. You can see his athletic ability when he made the tackle on the interception, but at the tackle position, he’ll be fine.”
Long signed with the Rams as a free agent before the 2013 season. Injuries have followed the 2008 first overall draft pick from Miami to St. Louis.
In the 34-7 loss to the Chiefs, Long tore the same ACL that ended his 2013 season prematurely.
“Jake he had an issue a couple of weeks ago, but last week he played really good, he played his best game to date last week, and he was off to a great start in this game,” Fisher said. “He was strong, he was stout, he was playing well. It’s just very unfortunate.”
Long’s injury happened in about the same time span – 10 months – that quarterback Sam Bradford suffered his in the preseason. Both players tore the same ACL again.
Fisher said there was no connection between the two.
“They’re unique, it’s just a coincidental thing,” Fisher said. “Our guys are top shelf, they know what they’re doing. Both guys were working hard and both knees had braces on them as well. Just kind of unusual.”
Fisher also announced that wide receiver Brian Quick will miss the rest of the season with “significant damage” to his shoulder.
Quick, the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 draft, was finally starting to live up to his promise coming out of Appalachian State. His 25 catches are currently second most on the Rams and he is the team leader in yards receiving at 375.
“He was very productive,” Fisher said. “He took advantage of all the opportunities and made tough plays, tough catches, and we’re going to miss him.”
Fisher said Quick will have to undergo surgery, but is expected to make a full recovery. The surgery has not been scheduled.
Robinson isn’t the only Southeastern Conference lineman in line to receive his first dose of extended duty in St. Louis. Injuries to Saffold and Scott Wells also thrust Barrett Jones in at center.
Jones was sidelined for most of his rookie year in 2013 due to a foot injury he suffered his senior year at Alabama. A back injury plagued him earlier this season.
“Offensively, Barrett did a nice job directing traffic and working with protections,” Fisher said. “Our breakdowns, they came just on the one-on-one battles as we were trying to get receivers out down the field.”
The injuries to Long and Quick were the worst among a myriad of medical issues the Rams left Arrowhead Stadium with.
The returns of Saffold (shoulder), Wells (elbow), Rodney McLeod (knee), William Hayes (foot) and Cody Davis (concussion) are uncertain.
“We’re going to have a number of players that will not be available for practice the middle of the week, so we’ll just kind of go day to day with them,” Fisher said.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — It’s Michael Vick’s turn. Even though it’s probably too late to save the New York Jets’ season.
Rex Ryan announced Monday that Vick will start at quarterback over Geno Smith in the Jets’ road game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
“I think this is the right decision at this time,” Ryan said, adding that it isn’t “any long-term deal or whatever.”
The Jets are mired in a seven-game skid that has them at 1-7 after a 43-23 loss in which both Smith and Vick turned the ball over three times against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” the 34-year-old Vick said. “Any time you get named to be the starter, in any profession, in professional sports, it’s a great thing. You have to relish it, but also at the same time take it extremely serious and understand what’s at stake and what needs to be done.”
Smith, in his second season, was benched in the first quarter Sunday after throwing interceptions on three consecutive possessions. Vick took over and provided a spark, leading the Jets to a touchdown on his first drive, but also committed three turnovers of his own.
“My focus is just on Kansas City and trying to find a way to get a win,” Ryan said. “That’s why this decision was made.”
Vick was 18 of 36 for 153 yards against the Bills, and also ran for a team-leading 69 yards on eight carries. But he threw one interception – and nearly had another that was ruled incomplete after being overturned by video review – and lost two fumbles.
His first start with the Jets will come against Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who helped revive the quarterback’s career in Philadelphia after he served nearly two years in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring. Vick called it “kind of ironic” and added that it isn’t exactly what he wanted, but is happy to be starting – regardless of the opponent.
“I love Andy Reid for the man that he is,” Vick said. “As far as the football game, football is football. I just want to go out there and do what’s best for the team and hopefully try to get a win.”
Smith injured his right shoulder during the game when he made a touchdown-saving tackle on his final interception, but both he and Ryan said it isn’t serious. Ryan did acknowledge Smith’s shoulder isn’t 100 percent, and Matt Simms could be activated from the practice squad if Smith isn’t available.
“They said it was minor soreness,” Smith said.
The Jets have been searching for a franchise-type quarterback since the days of Broadway Joe. Vick will become the 27th quarterback to start a game for New York since Joe Namath’s last game with the team in 1976. A few have had some good moments – Vinny Testaverde, Chad Pennington, Brett Favre and even Mark Sanchez – but none was able to sustain any level of dominance or postseason success.
Smith was given every opportunity to prove he could be that type of player after being thrust into the job when Sanchez was lost for the year during the 2013 preseason. He finished his shaky rookie season with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, but had a solid final month to give the Jets some hope.
New York signed Vick in the offseason to provide some competition for Smith, but it was clear early that it was the second-year quarterback’s job all along. Still, Smith did little to reward the Jets’ faith in him as he had seven touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in eight games.
“Have there been guys that took a step back and then took a leap forward? There have been guys like that,” Ryan said. “Hopefully that’s what happens to Geno, but I don’t think anybody in this organization is looking at him differently right now.”
Smith believes he “without a doubt” can still be a franchise quarterback.
The quarterbacks found out about the decision from Ryan after the team meeting Monday. Smith said he initially had no reaction when he was told, but added that he was frustrated and a little surprised to not be the starter this week. He also said he needed no explanation from the coach.
“That’s something that you have to expect, especially with the way I performed in the previous game,” Smith said. “It was definitely not (a performance) fitting of what I believe is the caliber of a starting quarterback. It’s something that I’ve got to work on.”