Redskins

Eagles coordinator set for Saints, second chance

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Eagles coordinator set for Saints, second chance

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Todd Bowles didn't have much success in his debut as Eagles defensive coordinator.

His encore won't be any easier.

After the surging Atlanta Falcons put on an offensive show in Philadelphia en route to a 30-17 win last Sunday, Bowles gets a second chance on Monday in New Orleans. The Saints (2-5) are struggling in their own right, but can still put up big numbers, especially at home.

``The quarterback. The way they attack you. They're always going downfield and they're passing the ball a lot,'' Bowles said of the Saints. ``They're trying to keep you on your heels, and they're an attacking offense.''

The Eagles (3-4) could use some of that, too. Though Bowles' unit allowed 392 total yards, Philadelphia's offense didn't help vs. the Falcons.

``They are fixable. Like I said, we took a lot of good things out of the ballgame,'' Bowles said of his defense. ``There were a lot of things (that we did in) training camp and OTAs, Day 1 kind of things that shouldn't have happened and didn't happen. We corrected them in the meeting and we'll go from there.''

The Eagles have lost three in a row since starting 3-1, and are 0-1 since coach Andy Reid fired Juan Castillo and replaced him with Bowles. Philadelphia is 2 1/2 games behind the Giants in the NFC East, after owning first place just one month ago.

``It was tough because we didn't win,'' Bowles said of his debut. ``Then, the penalties and the third downs. It was one person here and one person there. You can't just single out anything. As a whole on defense, we have to get it done. It wasn't frustrating for me. It was frustrating that we lost. It was frustrating how we didn't play the way we normally play, but you write it off as a bad game and you look forward to the next week.''

Should the Eagles be able to run the ball effectively vs. the Saints, the defense would stay a bit fresher after being on the field for 32:55 against Atlanta. It wasn't a banner day last week for the running game - tailback LeSean McCoy had 16 carries for 45 yards and quarterback Michael Vick had seven for 42 - but offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg sees some positive signs.

``I thought we were in a pretty good rhythm. Now, we've got to execute just a little bit better on a couple of those (runs),'' he said. ``We had some drives. We've got to be better and we've just got to play at a higher level on a consistent basis.''

The same can be said for the Saints. Quarterback Drew Brees leads an offense that has thrown up 190 points, but New Orleans opened with four straight losses, including two at home.

``They attack you with the running backs, the tight ends, and the wide receivers. You got to have a good overall game plan against them, and you have to hope that he is off a little bit,'' Bowles said of Brees. ``You have to hope they are a little bit worn down. He's been tough for years now. It's not just this game. He's been tough against everybody. They are the number-one pass offense in the league for a reason.''

The Eagles have two division games up next - vs. Dallas and at Washington- after the Saints game, and a Monday win could go a long way toward a potential turnaround. Philadelphia is just 1-2 on the road this season.

``We've got to play loose and free and we've talked about that,'' Mornhinweg said. ``Just simply (be) unafraid to make a mistake. If we make one, we correct it. It's that simple and certainly that mentality will help us just a little bit with some of our dynamic ability there.''

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NOTES: New Orleans RB Darren Sproles has undergone hand surgery and won't be able to play Monday. Interim coach Joe Vitt revealed the seriousness of the injury after Friday's practice. He wouldn't say which hand was injured or even when Sproles was hurt. ... Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April said WR Damaris Johnson will return punts vs. the Saints. ``Damaris will be the guy. I know he's looking forward to it,'' April said. ``He's from New Orleans. It'll be a big homecoming for him and I think he'll play really well.'' ... The Saints are 1-2 at home this season.

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O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

We are nearing the start of the NFL Draft, less than three days to be exact, and right now there are a ton of names circling around whom the Washington Redskins should take at No. 13.

You’ve probably read countless mock drafts at this point (if you haven’t or need another here is ours), and there’s one thing that is consistent: nothing.

So let's concern ourselves less of ‘who’ and exactly what each player will bring to the Redskins.

There are very few evaluators of talent better than the NFL Network’s Charles Davis, so he got to talk with J.P. Finlay and Mitch Tischler on the latest edition of the Redskins Talk podcast.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST WITH CHARLES DAVIS HERE

He broke down EVERYONE that Washington could be taking at No. 13 overall. If you don’t have time to listen (which we highly recommend that you do), here are some of the highlights:

“This could be a wild first night,” said Davis. “All of these different trade scenarios are out there right? My experience has been that most of that calms down as we get closer. There’s a lot of discussion and chatter about it, but we don’t usually have it.”

REDSKINS NEEDS:

“At 13, when you’re really down to it, Mitch I think you had said to me even before we began ‘O-line, D-line man, let’s talk O-line, D-line,’ and I think that is the perfect place for this Washington team.”

VITA VEA, DT, WASHINGTON

“If Vita Vea from Washington somehow is sitting there at 13, and the idea that you could go up there and put him a line and get Jonathan Allen back from last year, I think that’d be a great place to go. This is a top-10, top-5 talent in this draft that possibly could still be around at 13.”

“When we’re talking about the people that are in our business, the talking heads that people kind of go to and kind of get held accountable for their mock drafts… you don’t really see Vea in any consistency in the top ten.”

“Eleven is kind of the breakpoint for him.”

MAURICE HURST, DT, MICHIGAN

“I like him. I don’t know that I like him quite that high.”

DA’RON PAYNE, DT, ALABAMA

“I like Payne, better than Hurst, but again I don’t know about quite that high.”

“The medical, you can’t help it when you’re talking about a heart. You can’t help but be a little bit concerned. Now he has gotten clearance, that has come through, but we all know that each team is going to do it’s own research and got to decide how comfortable they are with that.”

QUENTON NELSON, OL, NOTRE DAME

“I doubt he is falling to 13, because if somehow he falls to eight to the Bears and if the Bears don’t run up to the podium and plug him in, I’d be stunned.”

ORLANDO BROWN JR., OT, OKLAHOMA

“Normally when you have a combine and you have some things that you have some questions marks on, normally you have some balancers. Orlando Brown had zero balancers. Everything was historically bad.”

WILL HERNANDEZ, G, UTEP

“Now Will Hernandez has had about as good a postseason as an offensive lineman can have.”

“This kid Hernandez has become a massive road grater, quicker than you would think, better pass protector and he did all of this on an 0-12 team last year. So he is another guy to keep an eye on, especially if as you said they are able to move back.”

DERRIUS GUICE, RB, LSU

“I’d be surprised at 13.”

“Get back to 19 and then I think Guice is in play at 19. If that indeed is the runner that they like. I think the running back renaissance is real.”

JOHN KELLY, RB, TENNESSEE

“I think this John Kelly kid from Tennessee is a really good runner. He had a little trouble off-field last year, missed a game because of all that, but this kid runs hard, plays hard, he’s not Alvin Kamara… but this kid is more of a pure running back than Kamara is, he’s just not a bulky guy.”

TRADING BACK

“They’re in a tough spot because of the number. We’ve got all of this stuff now.”

“That’s a tough one, because if I’m Dallas and I want to come up and get my guy [Calvin Ridley], I don’t need to come up as high as 13 anyway, if you really think about it.”

BILLY PRICE, OL, Ohio State

“He’s a really good player. The kid played guard, he played center. Price is a really good technician. 44 a possibility? Possibility. Before the injury he was going late-first, early second.”

This is only scratching the surface of what the expert talked about. Get the full experience and listen to the full podcast.

MORE DRAFT COVERAGE:

- SEVEN ROUND REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT

- ODDS ON FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICKS

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Can Gio Gonzalez lift Nats out of losing streak in series opener vs. Giants?

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USA TODAY Sports

Can Gio Gonzalez lift Nats out of losing streak in series opener vs. Giants?

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Giants right-hander Chris Stratton will seek to duplicate two impressive efforts when he takes the mound for the opener of a three-game series against the Washington Nationals on Monday night at 10:15 p.m. ET.

The series is the first in San Francisco since Giants reliever Hunter Strickland plunked Nationals star Bryce Harper with a pitch last May, triggering a brawl at the mound that resulted in the ejection of both players.

The Giants got the worst of the altercation, with slugging backup Michael Morse suffering a career-ending concussion in a collision with teammate Jeff Samardzija near the mound.

Stratton wasn't with the Giants at the time, but he contributed one of the best-pitched games of his young career when the clubs met again in Washington in August.

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Making just his third career start, the 27-year-old shut out the Nationals on five hits over 6 2/3 innings in a 4-2 win. He struck out 10.

It's the only time he has faced Washington.

Stratton (1-1, 2.22) has won just four times since, and came close to a fifth when he limited Arizona to one run in seven innings in his last start on Wednesday. He did not, however, get a decision in the 4-3 win, during which he recorded eight strikeouts.

The Giants will be opening a 10-game homestand following a 10-game trip on which they went just 4-6. Statton started two of the four wins.

Stratton wasn't the only Giants starter who pitched well on the trip. The club is coming off a series win against the Los Angeles Angels in which both Samardzija and Johnny Cueto took shutouts late into wins.

Strickland saved Sunday's 4-2 win for Cueto, and afterward was asked about his thoughts of seeing Harper again.

"Win a series," is all he would say.

RELATED: LATEST MLB POWER RANKINGS

In the Nationals, the Giants will be seeing a team coming off a high-profile series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, one that included a meeting on Sunday Night Baseball.

Washington lost two of three in the rematch of 2017 division winners, scoring a total of just eight runs on 21 hits in the three games, which ended with the Nationals stranding two in the top of the ninth of a 4-3 loss on Sunday.

Harper went 2-for-10 in the series, which the Nationals played without injured regulars Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon and Adam Eaton. They remain out.

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 2.49) will oppose Stratton.

The veteran has made 12 career starts against the Giants, going 5-4 with a 3.06 ERA.

He restored order to the Nationals-Giants series in San Francisco last season the day after the brawl, pitching 6 1/3 innings in a 6-3 win. It improved his record at AT&T Park to 2-3 with a 3.95 ERA in seven starts.

Gonzalez threw 97 pitches in beating the New York Mets 5-2 in his last start, allowing two runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings on Tuesday.

That pitch total wasn't even five times the number Giants first baseman Brandon Belt saw in one historic at-bat Sunday against the Angels' Jaime Barria in the first inning.

Belt fouled off 16 pitches and flied out on the 21st pitch of the at-bat, the most pitches in a Major League Baseball at-bat since 1988.

Afterward, Belt apologized.

"When I'm in the field, I hate it when a batter keeps fouling pitches off," he insisted. "I'm like, 'Dude, just put it in play. It's not that hard. Let's go.' So, I basically had to apologize to everybody after that."

RELATED: HOW NATS DROPPED FINAL GAME VS. DODGERS