Cardinals move Potter to LT, consider other moves

Cardinals move Potter to LT, consider other moves

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Cardinals are going to give rookie Nate Potter a shot at left tackle, and coach Ken Whisenhunt says more changes might be coming as Arizona looks to end a five-game losing streak.

A seventh-round draft pick - 221st overall - out of Boise State, Potter entered Sunday's game at Green Bay early, replacing D'Anthony Batiste.

``Very impressed with what Nate did for us yesterday,'' Whisenhunt said Monday. ``I think it was a good time to make that switch with him in there, and based on what I saw off the tape, it merits moving forward .''

Now, Whisenhunt says he and his staff will take the upcoming bye week to see what other changes might be warranted.

``We're not going to be afraid to make a change,'' he said. ``That's what you have to look at. If it gives us an opportunity to get better and not stay the same, then that's what you have to do, because we've been inconsistent and we're looking for more consistency. When we play consistent football, we're a pretty good football team.''

Unless the Cardinals make another move on the offensive line, Arizona would have rookies starting at both tackle spots when it resumes play at Atlanta on Nov. 18. Fourth-round draft pick Bobby Massie has been the starter at right tackle.

The offensive line has been a constant sore point throughout the season. When left tackle Levi Brown went down with a season-ending injury in the preseason, Arizona chose to move the well-traveled but seldom used Batiste from right to left tackle, then insert Massie at right tackle.

The results were not pretty.

The Cardinals have allowed 41 sacks in nine games. No other team has given up 30. But the protection for quarterback John Skelton was vastly improved in the 31-17 loss to the Packers. Skelton was sacked twice, the fewest given up by Arizona since allowing one in its season opener against Seattle.

Potter, slowed by a sprained ankle in training camp, has toiled away on the scout team as the situation went from bad to worse on the line. Whether it's a measure of Potter's improvement or the Cardinals' desperation that the move was made is open to speculation.

Adding Potter to the line will have a cost.

``You know you are going to have to live with some things,'' Whisenhunt said, ``just like he got beat on the one inside move by Clay Matthews, but he did a nice job on a bunch of other protections where he kept guys out. He's worked hard on the scout team in getting his reps, and he's paid attention, and he's healthier now than he was.''

Whisenhunt cautioned, ``it was just one game.''

Skelton, the coach said, was far better than he was the previous week against San Francisco. This time, he threw for more than 300 yards and led a comeback that cut the lead to 24-17 in the second half.

Green Bay put the game away with a 72-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to a wide open Tom Crabtree.

Running back Beanie Wells, out with a turf toe injury, is eligible to return to practice this week but can't play until Arizona is home against St. Louis on Nov. 25.

There was no word on the results of an MRI on the ankle injury sustained by outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield.

The Cardinals practice Tuesday and Wednesday before taking a long break for the weekend. Meanwhile, the coaches will take a step back from game planning to take a long look at a team that started 4-0 but is now mired at 4-5.

``This gives us a chance with some of our players, to evaluate them over more than a one-game or two-game or three-game period,'' Whisenhunt said. ``You can look at a body of work and say we're not getting it done and we're willing to make the change and go with the next guy and see what he can do to help us. We already started that process yesterday with Nate and it worked out for us, but I think you have to be careful. That's one game. You don't want to make wholesale changes, because at times we've shown to be a very good football team.''


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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.


The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Panthers game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and he had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

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


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199