Capitals

No. 19 Stanford shuffling QBs, formations more

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No. 19 Stanford shuffling QBs, formations more

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) One of the last things that might come to mind when most people think about Stanford is a spread-option formation and a running quarterback.

Now times really are changing without Andrew Luck this season.

With Josh Nunes struggling to find consistency, Stanford coach David Shaw has started to mix things up more at quarterback. Not because he has lost confidence in the redshirt junior. It's more that backup Kevin Hogan has just been that impressive, and the different looks might benefit both.

``It's kind of like having, excuse me for saying it, but like a Tim Tebow on our team,'' fullback Ryan Hewitt said. ``He relishes the role. He likes it.''

Hogan's role has been expanding each of the last four games.

The redshirt freshman tossed his first collegiate pass - a 9-yard touchdown to tight end Levine Toilolo - at a critical point in the No. 19 Cardinal's 21-3 victory at rival California last week, and he's another piece Washington State coach Mike Leach has to game plan for ahead of Saturday's matchup at Stanford Stadium.

Shaw shelved most of Luck's running plays - ``to Andrew's dismay,'' he said - last season to protect the NFL's eventual No. 1 overall pick from an injury.

After watching Hogan play the scout team quarterback last year, when he mimicked opponents' styles such as Oregon's spread and UCLA's pistol offenses in practice, Shaw saw something that might work on Stanford's side. Shaw started implementing packages for Hogan similar to the way Stanford (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) did with Alex Loukas in 2008, and Hogan ran his first play for 5 yards in a 17-13 loss at Washington in the fourth game of this season.

Hogan entered at quarterback for six plays against California - although one was a false start penalty, and another appearance the previous week at Notre Dame was wiped out by a penalty. The Cardinal added another wrinkle when Hogan rolled right and tossed the touchdown to Toilolo in the first half of the victory at Cal last week.

``This is not a wildcat. This is not a running back that's just a running back. He's an athletic guy that can pass,'' Shaw said. ``Those are things that we can take advantage of as an offense.''

Shaw had trumpeted Hogan's skills during fall practice. He often told reporters not to discount him from the starting quarterback competition, which had been largely a two-man race between Nunes and Brett Nottingham in the spring and most of the summer, though most laughed that off at the time.

Shaw still considers Nottingham, who is listed second on the depth chart, ready to run the offense should anything happen to Nunes. But Hogan has been the one earning plays on the field with his ``unique'' set of skills.

``Some people think that some of these guys are like wind up, you wind them up and you put them out there and say, `Well, how come he doesn't play?''' Shaw said. ``No. 1, our team, you have to earn the right to get on the field by practicing well in practice. We've known Kevin can run and throw, but we weren't going to put him out there until he was efficient in that role.''

Hogan ran some at his Virginia high school in a spread-style offense. But he was almost exclusively in a shotgun formation and often tossing quick passes to the outside - not starting under center, looking for tight ends or barking out orders to a bulky offensive line before the play.

While Hogan still has hopes of Stanford's starting job one day, he has embraced his new role as the change-of-pace quarterback.

``It's new. I'm adjusting to it and getting more and more comfortable with the certain packages,'' Hogan said. ``I ran a little bit in high school, so it's good that I had a little bit of a base. But I'm just going to keep working at it every week, and if it gets called, just do my best with it.''

Nunes, for his part, said he likes Hogan's role.

Running off the field for a play or two, he said, allows him to gather his thoughts for a moment and listen to coaches on the sideline. And while neither Shaw nor Nunes will say it publicly, it also has likely motivated the quarterback to improve.

Nunes has thrown for 1,484 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions in seven starts, including an interception and a fumble against Cal. He remains somewhat of a mystery, playing spectacularly in the second half to upset then-No. 2 Southern California and rallying the Cardinal for a 54-48 overtime win against Arizona, but then he looked lost for stretches in losses at Washington and Notre Dame.

If nothing else, Hogan has shown he can move the Stanford offense at times, too.

``Kevin is a gifted athlete and a good player,'' Nunes said. ``It's nice as an offense to be able to utilize his strengths.''

NOTES: Starting WR Ty Montgomery has returned to practice and will likely play against Washington State after sitting out the last two games with a lower leg injury. ... OL David Yankey, who left the Cal game briefly with an undisclosed injury, will start Saturday.

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

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

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres 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. Sabres
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-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres 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
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers 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.

CAPITALS-SABRES 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: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 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 five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197