Raiders seek consistency on defense


Raiders seek consistency on defense

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Jamaal Charles had nowhere to run, Brady Quinn was under pressure all day and the Oakland Raiders defense posted its most statistically dominating performance in decades.

Coach Dennis Allen said that kind of game proves what the Raiders are capable of defensively when they play to their ability. The key now is doing that more often.

``We've proven that we can do it at times, but we've got to be more consistent at it,'' Allen said Monday. ``That will be our challenge moving forward.''

So far the Raiders (4-10) haven't proved much more than they can shut down the lowly Chiefs (2-12) and Jaguars (2-12). In three wins against the NFL's two worst teams, Oakland has allowed 13 points and 209 yards allowed per game.

Against the rest of the NFL, the Raiders have given up 33 points and 414.9 yards per game.

But Allen is less worried about the quality of opponent than the gaudy numbers his defense delivered. The Raiders held Charles to 10 yards rushing on nine carries, sacked Quinn four times and allowed just 119 yards of total offense - the fewest for the team since 1975.

It all added up to Oakland's first shutout since the 2002 regular season finale.

``I think it's important any time you get that opportunity. It's tough to shut anybody out in this league,'' Allen said. ``To get the shutout, to hold the team to 10 yards rushing which is a franchise record, a team that was a top-five rushing team in the NFL this year. I think that was huge for our defense. I think that was a good confidence builder. Now we have to continue to build on that.''

The Raiders have two more chances to duplicate that kind of performance as they end the season with trips to Carolina and San Diego.

Oakland also hopes that its running game can build on one of its best performances after rushing for a season-high 203 yards against the Chiefs. The Raiders had 45 carries in the game - their most in more than two years - with Darren McFadden running for 110 yards on 30 carries and Mike Goodson getting 89 on 13 runs.

That's the formula Allen wants the Raiders to follow each week.

``I think we all saw that when we execute that game plan the way that we feel like we're capable of executing it, we have a chance to win games,'' he said. ``I thought our defense played outstanding yesterday and I thought we were able to run the ball effectively against them. So that will be a key for us moving forward.''

The game also marked the season debut for third quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The former Ohio State star had been on the field just once in his first two seasons, committing a false start before the snap on his only other chance last season.

Pryor came in to start the second quarter and after a false start before the first play, Pryor handed off twice before throwing an incomplete pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey.

``The biggest thing is we wanted him to get into a game,'' Allen said. ``He got in a game last year for one play, there was a false start penalty and really wasn't able to run a play. I wanted to be able to get him in an NFL football game during the regular season and get him a little bit of experience and we'll see where we go from there.''

NOTES: CB Phillip Adams left Sunday's game with his second concussion in three games. He will need to go through the protocol before he is able to return to practice. ... WR Juron Criner (hip), TE Richard Gordon (biceps) and S Mike Mitchell (stinger) all left the game with injuries and will be evaluated Wednesday.


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3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia


3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia

Playing three games in four days takes a toll on even the fittest athletes, and it was their sluggish start that doomed the Capitals in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After being noncomittal about his starting goalie all weekend, Coach Barry Trotz put Philipp Grubauer in net. Grubauer ended up making 29 saves on 34 shots. Offensively, the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, and John Carlson. Carlson's third period goal cut the Flyers' lead to two with a little over three minutes to go, but a Jakub Voracek empty-netter a few moments later was the nail in the coffin. 

Here are your three stars from the game: 

1. Travis Boyd had the play of the game for the Capitals. Boyd carried the puck into the Flyer's zone, cut through multiple defenders and fired a slick shot to a streaking Ovechkin, who burried the puck in the back of the net. Check it out: 

Not only was the play nice on its own, but it was Boyd's first NHL point. Not a bad way to get it. 

2. Shayne Gostisbehere​ got the Flyers going with his goal in the first period. The defenseman had one goal on five shots along with being an intimidating force in the defensive zone. After going six weeks without scoring, today's goal was Gostisbehere's second goal in three games. 

3. Wayne Simmonds was the best offensive player on the ice on Sunday, scoring twice - both in the final period. It was the 22nd and 23rd goals of the season for the 29-year-old winger. It was also the first multi-goal game for Simmonds since Opening Night, when he had two against San Jose. 

The Caps hit the ice next on Tuesday, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Capital One Center. 

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.