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  • July 15, 2019
    The New Orleans Saints acquired defensive end Chris McCain in a trade with the Miami Dolphins on Monday.The Dolphins will get a conditional seventh-rounder, according to a league source.The trade was first reported by the NFL Network and later confirmed by McCain on Twitter.The Dolphins were deep at defensive end, which put McCain on the roster bubble and ultimately made him expendable. They have starters Cameron Wake and Mario Williams, who have combined for eight Pro Bowls, along with veteran backups Jason Jones and Andre Branch.McCain (6-foot-5, 236 pounds) has pass-rush ability and can play a variety of special teams. His two signature plays in Miami were a blocked punt during his rookie season and a sack of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.The Dolphins signed McCain as an undrafted rookie in 2014. He played in 18 career games and registered seven tackles and two sacks. New Saints tight ends coach/assistant head coach Dan Campbell is familiar with McCain after serving as the Dolphins interim head coach last year.Its unclear if the Saints expect McCain to push third-year pro Kasim Edebali for a starting job or if they were just looking for depth and special-teams help. But the Saints have essentially been in the market for pass-rush help since back in March -- a need that became even greater after second-year defensive end Hauoli Kikaha went down with a knee injury this summer.New Orleans apparently decided to look outside the building for help after being disappointed with its most recent preseason results. Coach Sean Payton called the pass rush very concerning after Fridays preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.For the amount of times they threw the ball, our ability to affect the quarterback was poor, said Payton, who also hinted on Monday that the Saints would be looking outside the building for help over the next week.This next 10-day period, theres gonna be some good football players that shift from one team to another via a lot of different ways, be it from trade, be it waiver claims and/or free agency, Payton said.The Saints also addressed another one of their top trouble spots Monday, signing veteran offensive lineman Khalif Barnes after a tryout.Barnes, 34, spent the past seven seasons with the Oakland Raiders after spending his first four years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has played in 151 games with 117 starts.Its unclear what his role will be in New Orleans since the 6-6, 320-pounder has played both tackle and guard. 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Irving scored 23 points, Tristan Thompson had 20 points and 10 rebounds and the Cavaliers beat the Denver Nuggets 117-109 on Friday night. Vernon Philander is used to drawing the short straw.At the beginning of his career, his skills as a long-format seam bowler somehow slipped behind his potential as a limited-overs allrounder and he debuted in the wrong format. When he flopped, he was sent back to franchise cricket to find form and fitness, and it took four years before he found his way back.Luckily, his new role fitted perfectly. Philander opened the bowling with such precision and penetration that he became the fastest South African to 100 Test wickets but still, he was not the countrys poster boy. The doubters believed he could only perform on pitches he was used to at home and the occasions on which Philander proved them wrong - Hamilton, Lords, Abu Dhabi - were conveniently forgotten. Last years tour to India would have been the biggest opportunity for Philander to show what he could do.He started strongly - with the most success by a South African seamer in the first Test in Mohali - but then disaster struck. In the warm-ups of the Bangalore Test, Philander tore ankle ligaments playing football and the injury looked bad enough to end his career.It took him three times longer to recover than first predicted - almost 18 weeks instead of six - he missed the rest of the international summer and with the rise of Kagiso Rabada, Philanders chances of finding his way seemed slim and he knew it. You always get a scare when this type of thing happens, especially with the time duration of it. I initially thought six weeks and I will be back on the park, he said. Then I realised the extent of the injury and the rehab that I had to undergo. When you are not playing and not being part of the set-up, you start doubting when you will be back in that space.For a change, it was not other people doubting Philander, but that did not make it any easier. He had to strengthen the ankle slowly and learn to trust it again. By his own admission, there was the mental challenge of being comfortable with landing on it, running on it and turning on it.Thats why Philanders comeback involved all the steps a sportsman entering the game for the first time takes. He played club cricket, provincial cricket, franchise cricket and A-team cricket. With each outing, he felt more assured. For me, it was to get over the mindset of wondering if the ankle is going to hold up.dddddddddddd Thats why I went (with the A team) to Zimbabwe and Australia, he said. It held up pretty well so going into this Test match, I was pretty confident on it. I needed to play those couple of games to get that mental edge to be ready for this.And then, despite delivering six of possibly the most threatening overs of his career, in which he beat the bat several times with the kind of seam movement that he made his name on, Philander was overshadowed by Dale Steyn. Again.Steyn had been out of the Test side for almost as long as Philander, with a groin and then a shoulder problem, and his comeback was more eagerly anticipated. With Steyns reputation and the record for South Africas leading Test wicket-taker within his grasp, that was understandable. After Steyn shot out the New Zealand openers with signature swing, that was even more understandable, so it is hardly surprising that Philander gets why he has not made the headlines and his new-ball partner has. In fact, he welcomes it, because he believes they need each other to get South Africa climbing the rankings again.We formed a good partnership over the last few years. For me, its to get back to what I have been doing successfully, which is hitting the top of off with the odd bouncer, to create pressure from the other end with the consistency of bowling line and length, Philander said. When you slip down the rankings, you are going to try and find what was the key reason. South Africa have played with a lot of new faces and the lack of experience is what I would put it down too. Dale and I bring a bit of experience to the fold. Id like to see us lead the attack again.As for the doubters, who continue to wonder if Philander has passed his best, he hopes to answer them with his actions, as he has always done. We always need to prove ourselves wrong first of all, he said. As for proving other people wrong, it will always be there because theres always going to be critics, theres always going to be people questioning. You can only control what you can, and for me thats controlling 20 overs a day. 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