Capitals

Coach Swinney: 11th-ranked Tigers remain focused

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Coach Swinney: 11th-ranked Tigers remain focused

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Clemson coach Dabo Swinney's message to his players all year has been for them to focus on each other. He doesn't expect the 11th-ranked Tigers to change their approach now.

Swinney said Tuesday that Clemson (9-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) has played to a strict standard during its six-game winning streak. The Tigers hope to continue to play with the same discipline and attitude against North Carolina State (6-4, 3-3) Saturday at Death Valley.

``They've learned how to handle success better and they've learned what it takes to be consistent performers,'' Swinney said.

The coach said it would've been easy for the Tigers to lose direction at several points this season, particularly after their 49-37 loss at Florida State. That defeat likely will keep Clemson from playing for a second straight ACC title.

Instead of folding, Swinney said his players learned how to be consistent winners, which will pay off later.

Swinney's been part of past Clemson teams - he was Tigers receivers coach from 2003 until take over the program in 2008 - that would've dwelled on defeat and come up short in later weeks. Instead, Swinney said team leaders got players right back into their regular routines, forgetting about past defeats.

``They've bought into those things and that's what they've focused on,'' Swinney said.

Those results mean Clemson can share the ACC Atlantic Division crown by defeating the Wolfpack this weekend. The Tigers' loss to the Seminoles gives Florida State the spot in the league championship game should it defeat Maryland on Saturday. An upset by the Terps would send Clemson to its third title game in four seasons.

``We're not worried about any of that,'' Clemson center Dalton Freeman said.

There's plenty left for the Tigers to achieve even outside a league crown, Swinney said. They've never won seven ACC games in a season before and last won 10 regular-season games in 1981, their national championship season.

``These are steps forward we're taking,'' Swinney said.

The Tigers have shown steadiness on offense all season, leading the ACC in yards gained at more than 513 and second in league points scored at nearly 43 a game. The defense has tightened up the past month, rising to third in the ACC in points allowed at 22.4 per game.

Clemson had its best defensive showing of the year in last week's 45-10 victory over Maryland, holding the Terps to a season-low 180 yards of offense.

``We're playing pretty good football defensively,'' Swinney said. ``As good as probably anybody in the top 20.''

They'll be tested this week with the ACC's third-best passing team and Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon, who trails just Clemson's Tajh Boyd for most passing yards a game in the league.

It was Glennon and the Wolfpack who accelerated Clemson's late-season spiral with a stunning 37-13 loss last November that dropped the Tigers out of the top 10. It was part of Clemson's 1-3 finish after an 8-0 start - something the players vow not to repeat this season.

``As an offense, we felt like we were somewhat embarrassed by them last season,'' Boyd said. ``It's one of those deals where we just want to get out there and have some fun.''

North Carolina State qualified for a bowl game with last week's 37-6 victory over Wake Forest. The Wolfpack ran for 170 yards, their first game in more than a month surpassing the century mark on the ground.

``We had to run the ball to be a better football team,'' Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien said. ``Anytime you can control the time of possession by running the ball, that is a good recipe to win the game.''

Boyd and Tigers' high-flying attack has had lots of fun the first 10 games. They put up 718 yards in a 56-20 victory at Duke and followed that up with three Boyd TD passes in the opening half to take a 35-7 lead last week against Maryland.

It's a standard Swinney said he's worked hard to develop among his players since taking over midway through the 2008 season. Last year's group, which featured 42 freshman on the roster, learned how to win games but still needed to develop a toughness both to deal with adversity and to handle success. That's happened this season, Swinney said, and will serve as a foundation for the future.

``When you don't have that mentality, that's when you get your butt beat,'' Swinney said.

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

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

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

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

Forwards
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

Defensemen
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

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

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.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

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 five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 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 five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197