Redskins

Britt looking like his old self despite sore knees

Britt looking like his old self despite sore knees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Kenny Britt knows both his knees will not be 100 percent until sometime after the season ends when he's not practicing daily and playing games.

He is feeling better now and looking like the big physical receiver who was off to one of the NFL's best starts for Tennessee in 2011 before tearing his right ACL and needing a total of three operations on both knees through June.

``Sometimes there's good days, sometimes there's bad days,'' Britt said. ``But I'm confident that I can finish out this season.''

Britt had his best game this season catching eight passes for 143 yards in last week's loss to Indianapolis, and the New Jersey native's timing is good with the Titans (4-9) preparing to host the Jets (6-7) on Monday night.

``He made some tough catches,'' Titans coach Mike Munchak said of his receiver. ``There were some great balls dropped in there. Guys were all over him, he made some great catches. The one was a PI on them, and he still caught it before the half. He's a big target, there are a lot of things he can do.''

It's taken Britt quite a while to get to this point.

He tore his ACL on Sept. 25, 2011, in a win over Denver, and that set up his first surgery to repair that knee. In May, Britt needed a second surgery on the knee to clean up the knee. By late June, he needed a second arthroscopic surgery to clean up his left knee, which had been swelling and bothering him.

Still, Britt worked his way back and was ready by the start of the season when he had to sit out the season opener suspended for his eighth run-in with police, a July 20th arrest for driving under the influence at the Fort Campbell post on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

Since then, Britt has not missed a game and been a regular in practice trying to get back into a groove catching passes even with his left knee still swelling at times and his right knee also bothering him at times. Getting back to the receiver that had a career-high 225 yards receiving with three TDs against Philadelphia on Oct. 24, 2010, has been easier said than done.

Britt found himself practicing only to watch himself on tape and see himself running such sloppy routes that he didn't even look like a pro receiver. Catching slant passes were the hardest.

``Trying to find the ball coming out of the quarterback's hands and catching it with my eyes first and then catching it with my hands,'' Britt said. ``That was just really hard to locate the ball coming out of my breaks because it came out so fast and it was on me so fast.''

His struggles showed on the field where Britt had six games with three or fewer passes. He had three TD receptions, and his longest catch was a 37-yarder against Pittsburgh on Oct. 11.

So the 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver spent more time with assistant coach Dave Ragone and worked more catching balls off the Juggs machine. Then he said his legs finally started feeling better the past couple weeks.

Then something clicked for Britt in Indianapolis. He averaged 17.9 yards per catch with a long reception of 46 yards and looked like the player who had 271 yards receiving through the first two weeks of the 2011 season. This is why the Titans drafted him in the first round out of Rutgers in 2009, and he led the team in yards receiving each of his first two seasons.

``The road to recovery that he's been going through has been hard, mentally and physically for him, in a lot of areas,'' coach Mike Munchak said. ``To finally have a game that picks him back up where he left off back in Week 2 last year after our first two games where he had about 150 a game. I think that's a good thing for him.''

The way Britt played may mean Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie matches up with him. The receiver has been studying Cromartie on film and hopes to be prepared for the way the defensive back presses and puts his hands on an opponent. Playing well is a must against the Jets with so many relatives back in Bayonne, N.J. watching.

``We got some friends that'll definitely wear the Jets' jerseys but everybody's just rooting (for) me,'' Britt said. ``I see it in Twitter and I see it in text messages. Everybody's rooting on me to get this W out here on Monday night.''

Notes: LB Colin McCarthy (concussion) did not practice Friday and is at risk of missing a third straight game. Munchak said the linebacker can tolerate light activity but still has symptoms when he tries to push himself. DE Scott Solomon (knee) and receiver Damian Williams (hamstring) also did not practice. ... Chris Johnson returned to practice after resting a sore ankle Thursday. DT Jurrell Casey (knee) was limited.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night in Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

GAME 4: TORONTO RAPTORS AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Series: Raptors lead 2-1
Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 5 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Time to get even

After a momentous Game 3 win, the Wizards have breathed some life back into their season. On Sunday, they can make this a brand new series.

With a win in Game 4 for the Wizards, they would tie the series and send it back to Toronto ensuring another home game in Washington. A loss would put them down 3-1, a deficit that has historically been hard to overcome.

Only 11 teams have accomplished the feat, most notably the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors did the same that year in the conference finals. It has only been done three times since 2006. 

How will Raptors respond?

Game 3 took on a much different tone and style than the previous two and it played into the Wizards' hands. It was much more physical and Washington did a good job of instigating contact and using it to their advanage. After the game, several players highlighted Markieff Morris shoving OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka as a turning point.

Just because it worked in Game 3 doesn't mean it will carry over successfully in Game 4. Not only could the Raptors respond with their own dose of brutality, but the referees may try to nip anything of the sort in the bud early on.

It would not be surprising if Game 4 was officiated very tightly and if a message was sent in the first quarter to the players. After seeing how well it worked in Game 3, the Wizards will likely try to test the limits.

Playoff Beal

The Raptors will also try to adjust their defense following Bradley Beal's 28-point outburst in Game 3. He wasn't much of a factor in the first two games of the series, but broke out in Game 3 to lead the Wizards to a win.

The Wizards did a good job of getting Beal involved early. He was found for open looks from three in the first half and had two three-pointers in each of the first two quarters. Beal also took it upon himself to attack the rim and force the issue.

The Raptors held Beal back in the first two games by being rough with him and in Game 2 they got him in foul trouble. Surely he will be a big emphasis of their gameplan on Sunday.

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For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast: