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Jones, Robiskie form tight bond with Falcons

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Jones, Robiskie form tight bond with Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Nearly every time Julio Jones reports to work, the second-year Atlanta receiver seeks out position coach Terry Robiskie.

Their ongoing dialogue started at training camp two years ago and hasn't let up.

Jones wouldn't have it any other way.

``Terry isn't going to sugarcoat anything,'' Jones said on Friday. ``If you mess up, you mess up, but he's going to show you how to correct it and what you need to look for.''

It's not hard to see why Jones credits Robiskie with helping him make the NFC Pro Bowl squad last month. On the sideline during games and at practice, Jones is likely standing next to his coach constantly to ask questions and get advice.

Their conversations are give-and-take, but both men say that it's never to the extent that Jones complains about being misunderstood.

Rather, Robiskie wants to know exactly what Jones sees before the snap and what his reason is for the technique he uses to create separation from a cornerback.

It's a formula that's worked well for the Falcons (13-3) heading into their divisional playoff game against Seattle (12-5) on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Jones, 23, has become the deep-ball threat that Atlanta needed before general manager Thomas Dimitroff traded up 21 spots to draft him sixth overall two years ago.

The numbers are impressive considering that only Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Tampa Bay's Vincent Jackson have more catches of 25 yards or more than Jones' 27 since the start of last season.

This year, Jones leads the Falcons with 10 touchdown catches, and he and Roddy White comprised one of four two-man tandems to each have at least 1,000 yards receiving.

But the lessons keep on coming.

``Being as young as he is, he's still got to focus on the game plan - what's the call, where do I go coming out of the huddle, what direction do I go, what route do I have, do I go inside, do I go outside?'' Robiskie said.

``During the course of the ballgame with him, I've got to focus on the guy across from him and let him, `Here's what they're doing to defend you.' "

With 30-plus years of NFL coaching experience, Robiskie is rarely surprised by any move or decision Jones might attempt.

Their work on the field begins each day before practice starts as Robiskie puts the receivers through sideline and end-zone line drills. The purpose is for each receiver to keep his feet in bounds while trying to catch balls that Robiskie purposely throws slightly out of reach.

It's a drill Robiskie learned from his playing and assistant coaching days with Raiders owner Al Davis and one that he's used over the last 30-plus years of working in the NFL.

``I throw the ball near the line where they literally have to dive or reach out across the white (line),'' Robiskie said. ``They have to drag their feet while focusing on the ball. On the end line, I try to throw it high and in the back of the end zone. Their minds have to be on, `I've got to catch the ball and drag my feet.' "

Jones showed how the work has paid off three weeks ago at Detroit as he reached out to catch quarterback Matt Ryan's pass in the right corner of the end zone and dragged his right foot while clutching the ball against the left side of his chest.

The 16-yard catch against Lions cornerback Chris Houston gave the Falcons a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter, but Jones' athleticism was only part of play's success. It took long hours on the field for the technique to seem like second nature.

``Practice makes perfect, man,'' Jones said. ``You've got to continue to keep doing the little things so that it becomes easy to you when you're in the game. When you're in that situation, you don't even think twice about it.''

For Robiskie, it's fun to work with a ``coachable player like Julio.'' He says the three seasons that Jones spent at Alabama, helping coach Nick Saban win his first national title with the Crimson Tide four years ago, gave him the kind of humility that Robiskie values.

``By the same token, Roddy's been with me for five years now and even when I got here (in 2008), he felt that he had all the answers anyway,'' Robiskie said with a laugh. ``He already feels he's got it all unless someone jacks him up and chokes him a little bit. But I don't have to talk to him as much. With Julio, I have to talk to him all the time because I've still got to focus on what I need to do from this to this to this.''

Notes: DE John Abraham (ankle) was limited in practice on Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday. ... Reserve S Charles Mitchell (calf) is also questionable. ... SS William Moore (hamstring) fully participated in practice for the first time in five weeks. He and CB Dunta Robinson (head) are both listed as probable. ... After losing David Caldwell to become the general manager with Jacksonville, Dimitroff promoted Lionel Vital to replace him as director of player personnel. Vital is in his fifth season with Atlanta, 22nd overall in the NFL.

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 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 overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198