Redskins

Column: 'All they had to do was look for the hat'

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Column: 'All they had to do was look for the hat'

There's a very good reason why coaches on NFL and college football sidelines this weekend are dressed exactly like the guys down at your car wash - or maybe it's the other way around.

There are actually 250 million or so rea$ons in the case of the NFL, and who knows how many more for college football teams, since most programs get to negotiate their own licensed apparel deal. It wasn't always like that, of course.

There are hats on the heads of more than half the coaches pictured in both halls of fame, as well as sports coats, ties and even the occasional bow tie completing the look. Some looked so distinct - Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys and Alabama coach Paul ``Bear'' Bryant come to mind - that even decades later, you could identify them just by seeing their profiles.

Not the current guys, though.

``Tommy thought it was important to look business-like, yet he would be the first one to tell you clothes don't win games,'' said Alicia Landry, whose late husband was arguably the best-dressed NFL coach ever. ``But at the very least, the players always knew where he was with a glance. All they had to do was look for the hat.

``Nowadays, and I hardly watch any games, they all look the same to me,'' she added. ``Except for that one coach who always wears his hood up.''

That would be New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, whose hoodie is on of the NFL's best sellers. But make no mistake - that has more to do with his success than his sense of fashion.

``The idea,'' NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, ``is fans see it on Sunday and buy it on Monday. But most of our coaches would rather wear a golf shirt and windbreaker than a suit and tie, anyway. Besides, these guys are so good they could probably coach in pajamas.''

Don't even think about it.

Next season marks the 20th anniversary of one of the NFL's most questionable decisions: requiring its coaches to choose their sideline wardrobes each season from a selection laid out by the league's official apparel manufacturer, currently Nike. The league gets its royalties, the coaches get a stipend and the rest of us get eyesores, like Rex Ryan in a Jets' sweater vest big enough to double as a tent or Green Bay's Mike McCarthy in a down jacket that makes him look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man - in green.

The last coach to work the sideline in a coat and tie was former 49ers coach Mike Nolan in 2007. He thought it would be a great way to pay tribute to his father, Dick, who roamed the same sideline from 1968-75. The NFL originally said no because Reebok, its supplier at the time, offered neither a sport coat or tie in its line with the logo. After three years of petitions, Nolan and then-Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio, neither of whom is a head coach today, both got to wear NFL-sanctioned versions.

``No one's asked since,'' McCarthy said, ``but we'd look into accommodating them if it could be worked out.''

Fat chance of that happening.

Dan Reeves, who played for the Cowboys and was Landry's assistant before coaching in Dallas, New York, Denver and Atlanta, was the last coach to routinely don a coat and tie for games. He was grandfathered in on the 1993 agreement, but switched to polo shirts when he arrived in Atlanta in 1997.

``The Smith family owned the team at the time, and when we negotiated a contract, it was part of the deal,'' he said. ``They were dead last in merchandising sales at the time, so I understood. They were trying to get the people in the stands to start wearing the gear ...

``But I got into the habit because of Tom Landry and I kept with it because, I believe, the coat and tie calmed me down. I'd get all riled up and start pulling on the coat or the tie, and then I'd remember how stately and in control coach Landry always looked. So I wonder,'' added Reeves, ``if that wouldn't help some of the guys out there right now.''

If that doesn't work, maybe some of today's coaches should solicit fashion advice from the people they trust most.

Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden's crisp white dress shirt and a sharp orange tie make him arguably the best-0dressed coach in the college game. He played for the late Joe Paterno at Penn State, himself one of the last throwbacks to the jacket-and-tie set. But when Golden got his first break as a head coach at Temple in 2006, he usually wore a sweat shirt.

One day he got a call. On the other end was his mom.

``Wear some pants and a shirt,'' she said.

Advice well worth heeding.

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Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.

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Final 2018 NFL Mock Draft Predictions: Pundits, analysts project Redskins pick

Final 2018 NFL Mock Draft Predictions: Pundits, analysts project Redskins pick

The 2018 NFL Draft is almost here.

It is time to finalize your final mock drafts and finish fine-tuning your big boards.

The NFL's biggest offseason event takes place in Dallas  in a little under 48 hours, there's still a lot of uncertainty about what the Redskins plan to do with their first-round pick.  

With that in mind, the guys of Redskins Talk podcast decided to ask those who follow the team closest - local media - to take a guess at who the team will take with the No. 13 overall pick.

40 different media members chimed in with their picks, and here's who they see going to the Burgandy and Gold: 

Final 2018 NFL Draft Redskins Predictions

— Larry Michael, Voice of the Redskins: Defensive player or trade down
— John "Cakes" Auville, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU - "Guice will look nice in a Redskins uniform"
— JP Flaim, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
— Jason "Lurch" Bishop, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Derwin James, S, Florida State - "could be the Sean Taylor of this draft"
— Eric "EB "Bickell, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies:: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
— Matt Valdez, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
— Matt Cahill, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Derrius Guice
— Craig Hoffman, 106 The Fan: Vita Vea
— Chad Dukes, 106.7 The Fan's Chad Dukes vs. The World: Derrius Guice
— Brock,106.7 The Fan's Chad Dukes vs. The World: Derrius GuiceVita Vea
— Chris Russell, 106.7 The Fan: Tremaine Edmunds
— Nick Ashooh, 106.7 The Fan: Vita Vea
— Andy Pollin, 106.7 The Fan: Vita Vea - "if he's a bust, we can call him 'oy Vita Vea'"
— Adam Epstein, 106.7 The Fan: Vita Vea
— Chris Cooley, The Team 980:: Trading down for Da'Ron Payne
— Kevin Sheehan, The Team 980 Radio: Da'Ron Payne
— Scott Linn, The Team 980: Vita Vea
— Bram Weinstein,The Team 980: Vita Vea
— Brian Mitchell, NBC Sports Washington: Da'Ron Payne
— Chick Hernandez, NBC Sports Washington: Vita Vea
— Santana Moss, NBC Sports Washington: Da'Ron Payne
— Michael Jenkins, NBC Sports Washington: Da'Rony Payne or Vita Vea
— Rich Tandler, NBC Sports Washington: Vita Vea
— JP Finlay, NBCSW Redskins Insider: Vita Vea
— Pete Hailey, NBC Sports Washington: Minkah Fitzpatrick
— Mitch Ticshler, NBC Sports Washington: Vita Vea
— Troy Machir, NBC Sports Washington: Vita Vea
— Ajay Atayee, NBC Sports Washington: Da'Ron Payne
— PFT Commenter, Barstool Sports: Vita Vea
— Barstool Nate, Barstool Sports: Trade up to take Baker Mayfield -"all eyes have to be on us, that's the Redskins way"
— Brent, Burgandy Blog: Minkah Fitzpatrick
— Sherree Burruss, Sports reporter, NBC4 Washington: Tremaine Edmunds
— Diane Chesebrough, USA Today: Vita Vea
— Kareem Copeland, Washington Post: Vita Vea
— Erin Hawksworth, WJLA: Minkah Fitzpatrick
— Jake Kring-Schreifels, Redskins.com: Vita Vea
— Lake Lewis, USA Today: Vita Vea
— Moises Linares, NBC Telemundo: Tremaine Edmunds
— Thom Loverro, Washington Times: Derrius Guice
— Ken Meringolo, Hog's Haven: Vita Vea
— Matthew Paras, Washington Times: Vita Vea - "he's a very large human, and the Redskins need one of those"
— Michael Phillips, Richmond Times Dispatch: Tremaine Edmunds
— Chad Ryan, Redskins Capital Connection: Derrius Guice - "he might have a higher ceiling than Saquon Barkley"
— Fred Smoot, former Redskins CB: Vita Vea
— Rick Snyder, Washington Post: Vita Vea
— Dimitri Sotis, WTOP: Derrius Guice
— Marc "Nigel" Sterne, producer at Tony Kornheiser Show: Shane Tripuka, P, Texas A&M
— Matt Terl, Washington City Paper: Darrius Guice -"and I will be miserable"
— George Wallace, Sports Director at WTOP: Vita Vea
— Ben White, Chief Economic Correspondent at Politico: Minkah Fitzpatrick
— Chris Worthy, REDSKINS GM (@chris_worthy): Vita Vea

You can listen to the whole podcast here:

RELATED: DOUG WILLIAMS SAYS TRADING UP IS UNLIKELY

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Wizards hope this time will be different in Game 5 on road

Wizards hope this time will be different in Game 5 on road

The Wizards were in a very similar spot and less than one year ago. After dropping the first two games on the road against the Celtics in the second round of the 2017 playoffs, the Wizards held serve to lock up the series at 2-2. They then lost in Boston in Game 5 and ultimately dropped the series.

This year the Wizards find themselves at 2-2 against the Raptors, this time in the first round. Again, they are on the road for Game 5, knowing it will be pivotal and could determine the series.

This time, they hope for a much different result.

"It's super important," forward Markieff Morris said. "Ideally, what we're looking for us to come back [to D.C.] up 3-2 with a chance to close it out on our home floor."

The Wizards value continuity more than most teams in the NBA. According to Basketball Reference's roster continuity chart, they are the only team in the NBA to retain 75 percent of their roster year-over-year in each of the past three seasons.

The Wizards have kept 82 percent of their roster from the 2016-17 season. Only three teams have held onto more players: the Spurs, Blazers and, ironically, the Raptors.

Continuity can have its pitfalls. It can breed complacency and, for certain personality-types, discord. Things can very easily go stale.

But in this case, the fact these players have been in this same scenario before and know very well how important Game 5 is could work to the Wizards' advantage.

"I definitely will bring it up. I won't dwell on it. Just bring it up. We have to do better," head coach Scott Brooks said. "Hopefully those experiences will pay for us and give us that toughness that we don't want to be on the losing side of it again."

If the Wizards didn't already know the importance of Game 5, they could look at the historical odds. Teams that win Game 5 in a seven-game series tied at 2-2 go on to win the series 82.8 percent of the time with a 164-34 all-time record. Teams that lead a seven-game series 3-2 go on to win the series 84.8 percent (251-45) of the time.

The Wizards could also look at the home/road numbers. When series are tied at 2-2, the home team has a 22-13 record in Game 5 since 2003 and a series record of 26-9.

The Raptors not only won the first two games of this series at home, but they tied the Rockets for the best home record in the NBA this season at 34-7. One of those defeats were to the Wizards.

Washington, however, has to get over a hump on the road in the playoffs. Though they have won eight consecutive home postseason games, they have lost six straight on the road. The last one they won was in Atlanta in Game 6 of the first round last year. They did not win on the road against the Celtics in the second round and as a result lost the series.

Morris and Brooks offered keys to breaking that streak.

"On the road, you've gotta really lock in," Morris said. "I was telling the guys yesterday that when you're up 20 it's only really 10 when you're on the road because they have the crowd to give them momentum in the game."

"We have to have a better start. We have to bring that edge on the road," Brooks said. "We haven't seemed to get into an offensive rhythm there. I thought the second game actually helped. We were down by 23 or so and then really started moving the ball and attacking their feet. Even though we didn't win the game, it gave us some confidence."

Brooks was referring to Game 2 wheN the Wizards outscored the Raptors 61-54 in the second half. They held Toronto to just two threes during that stretch, including zero in the third quarter.

That may have been a breakthrough. Now they have to do it for 48 minutes.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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