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Rested Eagles defense practices under Bowles

Rested Eagles defense practices under Bowles

PHILADELPHIA (AP) With Todd Bowles in place as the new defensive coordinator, the Philadelphia Eagles were back at work and eager to move forward following a tumultuous bye week.

First, players had to deal with questions about Juan Castillo.

``You know, it's a part of the business of football,'' cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said Monday. ``We all respect him. I respect Juan as a man, as a coach. Obviously, he's going to land on his feet and he's going to do well. It was tough, at first, to hear it because you've pretty much grown so much with a guy and seen him grow so much. But you know that he's going to be fine wherever he ends up.''

Asomugha's thoughts on Castillo's dismissal were particularly noteworthy because he publicly questioned his playcalling following Philadelphia's loss to Detroit last Sunday. Two days later, Castillo was fired after his defense blew consecutive fourth-quarter leads.

``I had a tough time last week when those stories came out, to be honest,'' Asomugha said. ``It was more so a character thing and that's something that I would never do as a player. I wouldn't do that to a coach and especially Juan, just because as far as a player-coach relationship, we had been so communicative. It wasn't a good feeling. But after speaking to him and him knowing that wasn't the case, I think it made it a lot better.

``But I don't think that had anything to do with him being let go or anything.''

Whether Asomugha's second-guessing factored into coach Andy Reid's decision to let Castillo six games into the season won't be known. Regardless, Bowles is in charge now for the first time in his coaching career.

Bowles addressed the players before practice and has their full support. He has a far longer history with the defense than Castillo did. Bowles played safety in the NFL for seven seasons and has coached that side of the ball the last 13 years. Castillo was switched to defense after 13 years coaching the offensive line.

``He's definitely a player's coach,'' safety Nate Allen said of Bowles. ``He relates to us well and we all like him as a coach, and off the field he is a great guy. He's smart so it's going to be a good thing. He talks to us like men. He's not real up in your face. He's not a loud guy. He expects you to know what you have to do as a man and as a professional.''

Bowles has never called the defensive plays before, though he was interim head coach for Miami for the last three games in 2011. He'll get his first chance Sunday when the Eagles (3-3) host Atlanta (6-0). It's uncertain whether Bowles will be on the field or up in the booth.

``I think in the grand scheme of things he was helping make play calls throughout this year,'' safety Kurt Coleman said. ``He's a smart coach, he really is. He's going to do his due diligence and understand the game as far as the offense is going to attack us and you have to be able to adjust during the game. I think he's going to do a great job with that.''

The Eagles had a familiar face back on the field Monday. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson returned to practice after missing the first six games due to brain surgery in the offseason. Patterson likely will need at least a couple weeks of practice before he can be ready for a game.

``They're just going to take it slow,'' Patterson said. ``We're going to see how things work out. The big man (Reid), he's just not in a rush to get me out there and risk anything. So, they're just kind of looking at me.

``I'm just happy to be out there running around.''

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

BALTIMORE -- Mike Clevenger pitched a two-hitter in his first career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians hit three solo homers off Chris Tillman in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 with his team-leading fifth home run. Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso also went deep for Cleveland, which came into the game ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs and last in batting average.

Clevenger (2-0) hardly needed the offensive support. Pitching on seven days' rest, the right-hander struck out three, walked two and allowed only one runner past first base.

The only two hits he allowed were singles by Manny Machado in the fourth inning and Chance Sisco in the fifth.

It was Clevenger's 35th career start. His previous longest outing was 7 1/3 innings, earlier this month against Kansas City.

While Clevenger is unbeaten in 11 starts since July 31, Tillman has experienced an opposite fate. This was his 22nd straight start without a victory, dating back to his first outing last season.

Tillman (0-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and a walk in six innings. The three home runs were one more than he yielded in his first three starts this season.

Michael Brantley hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning and Gomes connected in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, their lone threat against Clevenger, who responded by retiring Tim Beckham on a short fly to left and getting Anthony Santander to ground out.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a drive to left, and Alonso hit a two-out shot that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard.

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Tarik's 3 Stars: Nick Backstrom the OT hero in series-changing Game 5 win

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Tarik's 3 Stars: Nick Backstrom the OT hero in series-changing Game 5 win

Nicklas Backstrom tipped in a Dmitry Orlov shot in overtime, and the Caps beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 in Game 5 to take a three-games-to-two series lead in their 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series.

Washington can now clinch the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Monday night in Columbus.

The Capitals gave up the first goal in the game for the first time in the series. But the Capitals had an answer. The Capitals then took the lead. But the Blue Jackets had an answer. The Capitals took the lead again in the second period, but the Blue Jackets tied the game in the third.

But Nicklas Backstrom had the answer in overtime.

Tarik El-Bashir's 3 Stars of Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Game 3 

1. Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals

Backstrom delivered the Caps’ biggest goal of the season 11:53 into the extra session by knocking a point shot by Dmitry Orlov down and past Sergei Bobrovsky, who was the Blue Jackets’ best player in overtime.

The goal was Backstrom’s first of the series.

He also recorded an assist.

2. Matt Calvert, Blue Jackets

The third line winger scored nine goals in the regular season. After popping a couple in Game 5, he’s now got three in this series.

And Saturday’s was a doozy. After T.J. Oshie mishandled the puck at the blue line, Calvert was off to the races. He whiffed on his wrist shot but still managed to get the puck (and himself) in the net to even things, 2-2, early in the second period.

3. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Capitals

Kuzy was arguably the Caps’ most active forward.

Early in the second period, the smooth-skating center finished a three-on-one with a sneaky wrister that slithered through Bobrovsky’s pads. Kuznetsov also nearly set up Alex Ovechkin at the doorstep with a ridiculous slap pass. Alas, Ovi was turned by Bob, who went into the full splits to get a piece of the puck.

 

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