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Munchak: Titans need to make push in next 6 games

Munchak: Titans need to make push in next 6 games

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee coach Mike Munchak's pitch to the Titans is that they can be the team making a late run into the playoffs in their final six games.

Munchak challenged his team Monday to have at least made a run by the time the regular season ends.

``It seems to happen every year in the league,'' Munchak said. ``This is our opportunity, our chance to be that team. That's how they have to believe it, that's how they have to work. ... It's up to you, if you want to have that kind of season and that kind of finish, or do you want to have the other kind, which I don't think any of us want.''

The Titans (4-6) returned to work Monday morning after a six-day break with meetings and film study. They broke down their own mistakes and strengths through the first 10 games. Munchak then put them through a practice touching on everything from scoring inside the 20, 2-minute offense and the run game.

He said they saw what they're capable of Nov. 11 when they routed Miami 37-3 in a complete game. The defense forced four turnovers. The special teams showed up. And Chris Johnson ran for 126 yards while Jake Locker threw for two touchdowns in his return from a shoulder injury.

As far as the AFC playoff race goes, the Titans are one of five teams bunched at 4-6 behind Cincinnati (5-5). Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are both 6-4. So, there's a lot be decided, and Munchak is going to feed off that.

``We have to win a lot of football games, but if we do, then we're right in the middle of this thing. But we have to win,'' Munchak said. ``What happens around us, you need the right teams to lose, obviously, along the trail.''

Tennessee has put together only one winning streak this season when it beat Pittsburgh and won at Buffalo. They lost in overtime to Indianapolis when they had a chance at a third straight.

Cornerback Alterraun Verner said the Titans feel confident they can respond.

``We're in a six-game playoff before the playoffs where we can't really afford to lose any of these games,'' he said. ``If we can take care of our business and do what we're capable of doing, we can easily win all six of these games.

``We just can't look ahead.''

The final six games won't be easy even though they visit Jacksonville (1-9) on Sunday for the first of two games with the Jaguars down the stretch. The other four feature Houston (9-1), the Jets (4-6) and trips to Indianapolis and Green Bay (7-3).

The Titans first need to prove they can win a game inside the AFC South. The Jaguars contest starts a three-game stretch inside the division for Tennessee, and the Titans already have losses to Houston and the Colts this season. Jacksonville has won two of the last three in this series, and the Jaguars just missed a big win in Houston before falling 43-37 in overtime on Sunday.

``People get so caught up in records,'' Munchak said. ``There you have 1-8 versus 8-1, and the 1-8 team should have won probably, had many chances to win that game. We understand what that's all about, and it's going to be a great game for us and a tough game for us to win in Jacksonville.''

Monday's film session brought everyone together after the bye. The coaches spent the time without players self-scouting themselves, and they had plenty of bad football to study with Tennessee giving up an average 31.1 points per game with too many turnovers.

Looking back, linebacker Colin McCarthy believes the team is in the right frame of mind.

``It's kind of late now to focus on the bad things,'' he said. ``Focus on the good things we've done, build on that and put together a game plan so we can attack Jacksonville and be efficient.''

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Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Prior to their matchup against the Capitals, the Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Thursday night's game was the Panthers' first game on home ice since the shooting last week. BB&T Center, the home of the Panthers, is located about 20 minutes south of Parkland.

Both teams wore the school’s hat during warmups, and the Panthers will wear the school’s logo on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

There was a was a moment of silence and ceremony prior to the game, during which the video board showed the pictures and names of all 17 victims.

Following the video Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who lives in Parkland, took the ice to give his own moving tribute. 

"It's time for us, as a community, to take action. Enough is enough." Luongo commended the school's teachers and said of the students, "You guys are an inspiration for all of us. You guys are giving us hope for the future." 

"When I'm done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland," Luongo said. "I love that city."

In addition to the ceremony and uniform tributes, the Panthers hosted a blood drive beginning at today noon and lasting through the second intermission of the game in an effort to replenish local blood banks.

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5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

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Associated Press

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

The Washington Wizards signed point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day free agent contract on Thursday. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player...

**Sessions has played for Washington before. He was acquired by the Wizards at the trade deadline in 2015 and played out the 2014-15 season, appearing in 28 regular season games and 10 more in the playoffs. Sessions then spent the whole 2015-16 season with the team before leaving the following summer to sign a free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets. In 1 1/2 seasons with the Wizards, Sessions averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He shot 46 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three.

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**Sessions played one season for the Hornets and spent part of this year with the New York Knicks. The Knicks waived Sessions on Jan. 13. Over the past two seasons in Charlotte and New York, Sessions has averaged 5.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 37 percent.

**This is Sessions' 11th NBA season. In addition to the Wizards, Hornets and Knicks, he has spent time with the Bucks, Cavs, Lakers and Kings. He began his career in Milwaukee after getting selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.

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**Sessions went to the University of Nevada from 2004 through 2007 and left an impressive legacy as one of the best players in the program's history. The school's practice facility is, in fact, named after Sessions. It is called the 'Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center' and Sessions donated $1 million towards construction costs.

**Sessions overlapped with former Wizards player JaVale McGee at Nevada. Sessions was in his final season as a junior when McGee was a freshman. The Wolfpack were quite good that year. They peaked at No. 10 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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