Redskins

Chiefs offense a no-show the last 2 games

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Chiefs offense a no-show the last 2 games

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Duck, Kansas City, a nasty quarterback controversy may be headed your way.

It's just what the embattled, touchdown-starved Chiefs do not need. But if coach Romeo Crennel returns Brady Quinn to the bench and puts Matt Cassel back under center, a quarterback controversy seems assured.

Crennel made it clear Tuesday that Quinn and Cassel are now in head-to-head competition.

``What I told them is I'm rotating the quarterbacks. They will get equal reps,'' Crennel said. ``Both of them will get work and then we'll evaluate it and then next week we'll get ready for game week and then we'll make a decision and go from there.''

Drawing from bitter experience during four stormy years as head coach in Cleveland, Crennel knows how destructive a QB controversy can be.

``It is distracting,'' Crennel said. ``Everybody's wondering who the guy's going to be, and all those kind of things. Then what happens, some guys on the team kind of favor one guy over another guy. Even though everybody's got a job to do and they will do their job. But it is a distraction.''

Cassel missed last week's game at Tampa Bay with a concussion he sustained the week before. That was fine with some fans; many have never warmed to the former New England backup who didn't help his case by throwing nine interceptions through the first five games.

But Cassel was back on the wind-swept practice field Tuesday, cleared for noncontract drills, and Crennel expects him to be OK by the time the Chiefs (1-5) come back from their bye week and play Oakland (1-4) on Oct. 28.

No matter who's under center, the offense will be looking for its first touchdown in eight quarters.

``They will give (Cassel) another test next week, on game week, to finalize, to make it official,'' Crennel said. ``But I imagine, during these couple of days here, if he does good and there's nothing different on his baseline test, that he'll be cleared for contact.''

Cassel was having no trouble moving around.

``I feel great, yeah,'' he said. ``I've passed all the tests and done all that.''

Quinn, in his first start in almost three seasons, did OK for the most part during last week's 38-10 loss to the Buccaneers, the Chiefs' fourth blowout defeat. He was 22 for 38 for 180 yards, sticking almost entirely to short and intermediate-range passes.

He had two interceptions, but at least one was hardly his fault as it bounced off the receiver's thigh, bounced off the defensive back's forearm and bounced off the back of the receiver's elbow before Ronde Barber snatched it out of the air, about an inch from the ground, and returned it for a touchdown.

``He processed the information nicely. He was able to read defenses, get us out of a play, get us into a play,'' Crennel said.

But how long will it take to chip away the rust? Is it like riding a bicycle, it comes right back?

``I think that depends on how good of a rider you were to start with,'' the coach said.

Getting Cassel in a trade with New England was one of the first major moves Scott Pioli made after being named general manager in Kansas City in 2009. Although he had a nice year in 2010, last year was a struggle and this year's bad start includes a league-high 19 turnovers.

When Cassel went down in the fourth quarter of a 9-6 loss to Baltimore two weeks ago, some cheering was heard from the Arrowhead Stadium crowd. It prompted sharp comments from tackle Eric Winston about the hometown crowd and national attention no one wanted.

``All I'll say is I live here year-round in Kansas City and I've had nothing but support from the people in Kansas City and the people that we've met,'' Cassel said Tuesday. ``The fact of the matter is Kansas City is a great place to play and we've got a passionate fan base. I'm sure they're frustrated. I'm frustrated as well. But we're working and doing everything in our power to get it corrected.''

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Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown

Sony Michel

Running back
Georgia

Sony Michel is a solid north-south runner who also can bounce outside and pick up yardage. He shared playing time with Nick Chubb last year and still ran for 1,277 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry, and scored 16 touchdowns against SEC competition. Michel also showed his bona fides in the passing game, catching 64 career passes and showing that he can handle pass protection. 

Height: 5-11
Weight: 220
40-yard dash:4.54

Projected draft round:2

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins have made no secret of their desire to draft an upgrade at running back. They would prefer one who can catch passes out of the backfield and gain yardage between the tackles. Sony Michel can do both as well as pop for yardage on the outside. There is a good chance that he will be on the board when the Redskins draft in the second round. Since they don’t have a third-round pick, this may be the last chance to get an upgrade in this draft. 

Film review: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Alabama

—The first thing to say here is that the Bulldogs had a quality run-blocking offensive line. Michel frequently had big holes to run through. For his part, Michel maximized his gains when he had a big opening, hitting it quickly and working north-south. 

—He also can pick up yards through just a small crease, again by hitting it with urgency and gaining momentum to drive for the final few yards. 

—Michel didn’t do a whole lot of pass protection in the plays I watched, but he was solid when he did. On one play against Notre Dame, he put a blitzing defensive back on the ground. Against Alabama, he got in the way of likely first-round pick Da’Ron Payne long enough to allow the quarterback to get off a deep pass. To be sure, he didn’t blow Payne away but his block was effective.

—Besides the O-line, Michel also got quality blocking from his receivers. Again, he took advantage, reading the blocks and maximizing the gain. 

—He also can get it done without much help. On third and 20 against the vaunted Alabama defense, he headed up the middle and quickly went outside when he saw no running room. He headed to the sideline with four Alabama defenders and no blockers in sight. Michel found another gear and accelerated down the sideline to convert the third and long.  

—He later converted a third and 10 on a draw play, quickly getting up to speed and zipping through traffic to move the sticks. 

Potential issues: Although he has decent speed, he’s not the home run threat you might want in a back taken in the second round. And Michel isn’t really a power back either, although he can fight for extra yards. 

Despite his limitations, there is chatter that Michel might be drafted early in the second round or perhaps even late in the first. It’s hard to separate the smoke and speculation from reality as we sit a week before the draft starts. But he’s a talented back and if Derrius Guice goes off the board earlier than most expect, a run on runners could include Michel. 

Bottom line: Saquon Barkley is the obvious top running back and he surely will be gone when the Redskins pick in the first round. After that, the Redskins have plenty of options. They like Guice but 13 may be too high for him and he is likely to be gone when their pick in the second is on the clock. Michel is one of a few possibilities there, a group that also would include Michel’s former teammate Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones of USC and others. Without a peek at the draft board in Ashburn, we will just have to wait and see. 

Redskins draft countdown

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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Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

The biggest surprise of the Wizards-Raptors series through two games, at least from Washington's perspective, has to be the fact Ty Lawson has very quickly earned a prominent role in Scott Brooks' playoff rotation.

Lawson, 30, was signed the day after the regular season and after he played much of 2017-18 in China with the Shandong Golden Stars. He did not appear in one game with the Wizards or any other NBA team during the regular season, yet he was the first point guard off the bench in Game 2.

When John Wall picked up two quick fouls, it was Lawson who got the nod, not Tomas Satoransky. Lawson ended up playing 31 minutes, more than Satoransky and fellow backup point guard Tim Frazier have earned combined through two games.

Though the Wizards had three point guards on their bench behind Wall before Lawson even signed, he has apparently surpassed them all on the depth chart. Satoransky is the most surprising, given he played quite well during the regular season.

Satoransky averaged 7.2 points, 3.9 assists and shot a team-best 46.5 percent from three. He had the highest offensive rating (124) on the team.

Lawson, though, played quite well in Game 2. He put up 14 points, eight assists and three rebounds while shooting 4-for-5 from three.

Lawson outscored four of the Wizards' five starters. Not bad for his first game.

"He did everything I knew he was capable of doing," Brooks said. "I’ve seen him do it for many, many years. He’s tough, he’s a competitor. He competes and pushes the pace. He plays defense. I liked the spirit."

Lawson provided a noticeable spark. He is still quick and aggressive with the ball, not afraid to look for his own shot, and played physical defense against the Raptors. Lawson ended the night plus-8 in the box score in a game the Wizards lost by 11.

"It’s good to see him get into a game and be able to produce for us," guard Bradley Beal said.

Given the Wizards lost Game 2 and face an 0-2 deficit in their series, it is likely that Brooks continues to alter his rotation in the coming games. He could go back to Satoransky more often, knowing he had some solid games against Toronto in the regular season, including on March 2 when he had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Satoransky could see more time at shooting guard or small forward and could play alongside Lawson. That might be Satoransky's best bet because Lawson did nothing in Game 2 to squander the opportunity.

For a team whose effort has been questioned by their head coach, Lawson's energy and urgency was noteworthy. He brought the edge of a guy playing for his NBA career, knowing a good playoff series could earn him a contract next season. 

Clearly, the way Lawson played was refreshing for Brooks given how long he kept him out on the floor. He may have come out of nowhere, but it looks like Lawson is here to stay.

MORE ON THE WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WIZARDS NEED BEAL TO BE MUCH BETTER TO WIN

BROOKS MAY CHANGE STARTING LINEUP FOR GAME 3

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