Redskins

No. 3 Kentucky faces No. 8 Duke at Georgia Dome

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No. 3 Kentucky faces No. 8 Duke at Georgia Dome

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) John Calipari isn't happy with Kentucky's effort on the boards.

He didn't specifically say anything to the No. 3 Wildcats about their rebounding during weekend practices. But by the time players finished running, Calipari had gotten his message across.

The Wildcats were pushed around in their 72-69 season-opening victory over Maryland. The Terrapins outrebounded Kentucky 54-38 and had 28 on the offensive end. That's not supposed to happen against Kentucky's vaunted frontcourt featuring 7-foot Willie Cauley-Stein and 6-10 Nerlens Noel.

Calipari doesn't want it to happen again. Neither does Cauley-Stein, who said he ``doesn't want to do anything'' but rebound after the extra running.

Kentucky plays No. 8 Duke Tuesday night in Atlanta. It's the first meeting between the storied programs since the Blue Devils' 95-92 overtime win in 2001.

``My whole game is to go get boards,'' Cauley-Stein said Monday. ``Like, that's my whole plan. ... After all the running we've had to do, my sole purpose is trying to go get boards.''

The freshman center emphasized that Calipari's drills weren't conducted in anger.

``He wasn't mad,'' Cauley-Stein said. ``He was like, well, you've got to do it. It's a learning experience. Nobody likes to run, so you've got to have some kind of punishment. He had a smile on his face.''

Calipari said he had been too busy preparing his young squad in other areas to concentrate on rebounding drills. But that will have changed when the Wildcats take the floor against the Blue Devils.

He said his players should have a grasp of fundamental concepts such as positioning themselves for rebounds.

``It's more or less us being conscious about (the fact that) we follow the flight of the ball, which is I think sixth grade,'' Calipari said. ``It might be seventh grade (that you learn) you don't follow the flight of the ball. You see the flight and then you go find somebody (to block out) and then go get the ball.

``But again, if we haven't worked on it I can't be upset. And we hadn't. I just thought, we're 7-foot, 6-11, 6-10, 6-9, we'll rebound. No. When your guards are taking off and they're wedging you under and you're looking at the ball and you're next to the cheerleader, you're probably not going to get the ball. ... It's going to take time.''

Rebounding isn't the only issues the Wildcats have.

Kentucky enters the game against Duke (1-0) with some of the same point guard questions they had before its opener.

Sophomore Ryan Harrow, who has been bothered the past week by the flu, played just 10 minutes against Maryland and hasn't practiced.

Graduate student Julius Mays, who suffered a cut under his eyebrow in the game, also didn't practice after swelling developed on Sunday. Calipari said Mays didn't receive stitches but is expected to be available against the Blue Devils.

The Wildcats don't seem overly concerned.

One reason is Jarrod Polson's play against Maryland. Prepared to play extensive minutes with Harrow ailing, the junior responded with career highs of 10 points, three assists, two rebounds and a pair of game-clinching free throws.

His play may not have surprised his coach, but his friends were startled.

Many expected the game to be controlled by his highly touted freshman teammates. Polson estimated that he received ``more than a hundred'' congratulatory texts over the weekend.

He also sounds ready for more opportunities to contribute.

``I definitely feel more comfortable with my name getting called,'' Polson said. ``I just like that feeling of being in every situation. I was nervous but I was really enjoying it out there and having the time of my life.''

Tuesday's game certainly figures to whet the appetites of Wildcats fans whose invasion on Atlanta has resulted in the city being ``Cat-lanta'' when they're around. That fierce fan base was surprisingly outnumbered by Maryland supporters in Brooklyn.

That's not likely to be the case in Atlanta with Duke involved. The schools have played each other just 19 times with Kentucky winning 11 of those meetings, but Wildcats fans consider the Blue Devils rivals.

The seminal moment remains Christian Laettner's game-winning shot in the 1992 East Regional finals that beat Kentucky 104-103 in overtime and sent Duke to the Final Four. While Cauley-Stein, 19, was unaware of what's been called the greatest college game of all time or Laettner until being told about it on Monday, Calipari remembers it well for what might have been.

``If (official) Lenny Wirtz didn't call the technical on me, that game never happens. We beat Kentucky,'' said Calipari, whose Massachusetts lost 87-77 to the Wildcats in the semifinal.

``He called a ridiculous call from 55 feet away. He doesn't make that call, we win that game. Then there is no Christian Laettner.''

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry - what does it mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry - what does it mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the Top  5 paid receivers in the NFL. They can also trade Landry, and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 

What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical, few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins, but certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. $$$$Wide Receivers$$$$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

The Capitals continued to retool their scuffling blue line on Wednesday, acquiring 26-year-old defenseman Jakub Jerabek from Montreal in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2019.

The move comes a couple of days after GM Brian MacLellan dealt a conditional third-round selection to Chicago for swift skating Michal Kempny.

Both Jerabek and Kempny are left shot, puck-moving defensemen who move well and make crisp outlet passes. Both also hail from the Czech Republic.

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The team sees Jerabek as a No. 5 or 6, I’m told.

On Wednesday, the Caps also officially said goodbye to Taylor Chorney, who was claimed off waivers by Columbus. Chorney will report to the Blue Jackets.

The Caps were off on Wednesday as they made their way Florida for Thursday night’s meeting with the Panthers, so it’s unclear how Coach Barry Trotz intends to deploy his new defensemen.

But it’s probably safe to assume that Kempny will move into a spot within the top four with John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

MORE CAPITALS: GET TO KNOW MICHAL KEMPNY

That figures to leave Brooks Orpik and Jerabek on the third pair, while rookies Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey jockey for position as the next man up.

Kempny is expected to make his Caps’ debut on Thursday night.

Is the Caps’ D corps better? Well, that remains to be seen. But it had become clear to MacLellan and Co. in recent weeks that the status quo was not going to cut it. This month, in fact, the team has allowed 39 goals in 10 games. Only the Rangers (40) have allowed more in the same span.

With the trade deadline looming next Monday, the Caps now have roughly $617,000 in cap space, according to www.capfriendly.com, and are at the roster maximum of 23 players. So they would need to make a move in order to add another body.