Capitals

Could winning out save coaches on the hot seat?

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Could winning out save coaches on the hot seat?

Andy Reid got such a hearty hug on the sideline from Howard Mudd that the 70-year-old assistant with the artificial hip actually lifted the burly head coach off his feet.

Norv Turner received a game ball from the team president.

Reid and Turner were just two of four coaches on the hot seat who celebrated wins on Sunday, joining Ron Rivera and Pat Shurmur.

Reid's Philadelphia Eagles (4-9) snapped an eight-game losing streak when rookie Nick Foles threw a touchdown pass with no time left to beat Tampa Bay 23-21.

Turner led the San Diego Chargers (5-8) to their first regular-season victory in Pittsburgh in 15 tries. A 34-24 win over Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers kept the Chargers mathematically alive for a wild-card playoff berth.

Rivera watched his Carolina Panthers (4-9) build a 23-0 lead against NFC South champion Atlanta and hold on for a 30-20 upset.

Shurmur is actually getting used to winning in Cleveland. The Browns (5-8) beat Kansas City 30-7 for their third straight victory to also keep slim playoff hopes alive.

But, is it too late for any of the four coaches to save their job?

``Listen, I'm not worried about any of that,'' Shurmur said Monday. ``I'm not worried about saving, I'm worried about doing my job and that's it. I just want to do my job.''

He could've been speaking on behalf of the other coaches, too.

``That's not the thing that's on my mind,'' Turner said about his job status. ``We're trying to get ready for Carolina and trying to build on what we did. That's where I'm at.''

Reid and Rivera have expressed similar thoughts whenever asked.

Of the four, Reid may have the least security, even though he's been the most successful among the group and is the longest-tenured coach in the NFL at 14 years.

Reid is assured his third losing season and second in a row. The Eagles entered each of the last two seasons as Super Bowl contenders and failed miserably. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie already gave Reid a directive before the season, saying the Eagles had to make ``substantial improvement'' on their 8-8 finish from last year.

It's a foregone conclusion in what-have-you-done-for-me-lately Philadelphia that Reid won't be back. Local comedian Joe Conklin and his daughter, Casey, put together a video parody of Taylor Swift's song ``We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together'' mocking Reid. It's called: ``We Are Never Ever Gonna Win With Andy.'' The video already has nearly 400,000 views on YouTube.

Fans and media have speculated about Reid's potential replacement and the nature of his departure for months. The only question here is whether Reid steps down or is fired.

But Lurie and Reid are closer than a typical owner-coach relationship. Reid also is due to make about $6 million in 2013. So, it's not entirely unreasonable to think Lurie could let him finish his contract, especially if the Eagles win the final three games.

Lurie could cite several reasons, including turmoil and injuries. Reid fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo in October and defensive-line coach Jim Washburn last week. Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson - the team's top three offensive players - have missed a total of eight games. The offensive line was decimated by injuries.

There's also the rookie quarterback factor. Foles has shown signs of being a long-term answer. Reid was hired by the Eagles largely due to the role he played in developing Brett Favre when he was an assistant in Green Bay. Donovan McNabb had an outstanding career under Reid in Philadelphia. Perhaps Lurie would want to keep Foles in proven hands.

All that said, the city might riot if Lurie doesn't part ways with Reid.

There wouldn't be upheaval in San Diego if Turner stays. But that's unlikely. The Chargers are headed toward a third straight year out of the playoffs, and are one loss away from their first losing season since 2003.

Chargers president Dean Spanos is expected to fire Turner and general manager A.J. Smith shortly after this dismal season ends. Reid, by the way, has been mentioned as a potential successor.

In Carolina, Rivera is coaching like a guy who expects to return. He's playing younger guys and preparing them for the future whether he's part of it or not.

The Panthers fired GM Marty Hurney after a 1-5 start. At that time, Rivera said he was told by owner Jerry Richardson the team needs to be ``trending upward'' the rest of the season. The Panthers are 3-4 since, including the impressive win over the Falcons.

Richardson hasn't talked about his plans. He does have to hire a new GM, who likely would want to bring in his own coach.

``The disappointing thing is that's what we can be,'' Rivera said after the win over the Falcons. ``We know that. Based on what we did, how we did it and who we did it with, that's the disappointing thing. ... We've found balance, we have. Unfortunately, we didn't do it sooner.''

Shurmur could make the best argument to keep his job. The Browns are 5-3 after an 0-5 start and they have a roster filled with young players. Cleveland's rookies have combined to make 72 starts - a league high.

``That's good for the future because we're finally starting to find how to win football games with these young players,'' Shurmur said.

Whether that future includes Shurmur remains to be seen.

New owner Jimmy Haslam and new CEO Joe Banner may want to hand-pick their own coach to run the franchise. But if the Browns win out and finish the season on a six-game winning streak, firing Shurmur would be hard to justify.

Other coaches who could be looking for employment include Tennessee's Mike Munchak. The Titans (4-9) have lost five of their last six, and owner Bud Adams put the entire franchise on notice following a 51-20 loss to Chicago on Nov. 4.

Munchak, who has a year left on his contract, fired offensive coordinator Chris Palmer two weeks ago and may have to make other staff changes to keep his own job when this season ends.

In Buffalo, Chan Gailey appears safe despite the Bills (5-8) being headed toward their 13th straight season out of the playoffs. Gailey is just 15-30 with the Bills, but general manager Buddy Nix has insisted he has no intention of firing him.

Reid, Turner, Rivera, Shurmur and Munchak haven't received similar votes of confidence.

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AP Sports Writers Tom Withers, Steve Reed, Teresa Walker, John Wawrow and Bernie Wilson contributed to this report.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

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

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals (34-18-7) take on the Lightning (39-17-3) Tuesday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME ON?

The Capitals-Lightning 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. Lightning
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-LIGHTNING GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Lightning 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
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals-Lightning 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.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-LIGHTNING 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: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 20, 22 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.

Galette to be a valued free agent

Originally published 12/13/17

Like the Redskins, the Broncos are no longer relevant in 2017. Both teams’ fan bases have started to look towards the coming offseason.

To give their readers what they want, the Denver Post published an article by Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus that discussed some of the top pending free agents who have done the most to increase their values in the past year. There were two Redskins named, one you would expect to see on such a list and one that might surprise some people.

Kirk Cousins is at the top of the list. “The Washington signal-caller is grading as a top-10 quarterback (82.8), and soon he’ll have the long-term contract of one,” Renner wrote. “Only this time its value will be exponentially higher than any one he would have signed back when he first became a free agent in 2016.”

But the surprising name is that of Junior Galette. After missing the last two seasons with two torn Achilles tendons, he played this year on a one-year, $800,000 deal. And while he hasn’t been on fire in the sack department with just two on the year, he has been getting pressure on the passer.

“He’s accumulated the 27th-highest pass-rushing grade of any edge defender this season, but in only 264 snaps,” wrote Renner. “At 29 years of age, it’s doubtful he ever gets back to the level of the contract that he once had on the table with New Orleans. With how he’s played this season though, some pass-rush-needy team will pay handsomely for his services.”

One team that could be considered to be pass rush needy is the Redskins. Preston Smith is the starter and supposedly one of the Redskins’ top pass rushers. But in 100 fewer pass rush snaps this year, Galette has only three fewer quarterback hits than Smith and six more hurries.

And after missing those two seasons, Galette has remained healthy. Although he was limited with a hamstring during much of the preseason, he has not missed a practice or appeared on an injury report this year.

But would the Redskins be willing to pay him “handsomely”? Perhaps a good comp would be Connor Barwin, who moved from the Eagles to the Rams this past offseason at the age of 31. He had five sacks in Philly in 2016. That got him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

Barwin likely will have more sacks on his ledger going into free agency so let’s say Galette could command around $3 million. Perhaps he could offer Washington a bit of a hometown discount and agree to something in the $2.75 million range. If that is the case, the Redskins would be smart to keep him around for another year.

Plenty of things could alter the equation. If Galette gets hot in the last three games and posts a few more sacks his price could rise. With Smith and Ryan Kerrigan both back next year, perhaps Galette will want to go somewhere that he might get more playing time.

The details need to be sorted out but don’t be surprised if Galette gets a lot of attention in free agency, as much as teams need pass rush, and if the Redskins have to make a very tough decision about how much he is worth.

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) 9
—NFL Draft (4/26) 65
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 201