Roos hopes to play, bolster Titans' banged-up line

Roos hopes to play, bolster Titans' banged-up line

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Left tackle Michael Roos is practicing again and definitely wants back on the field Sunday. The shape the Tennessee offensive line is in, the Titans certainly need him Sunday with the Chicago Bears visiting.

Four of the five starting offensive linemen are on the injury report as the Titans (3-5) prepare to host Chicago (6-1). Left guard Steve Hutchinson is the only lineman not listed with center Fernando Velasco recovering from a concussion and right guard Leroy Harris and right tackle David Stewart both having hurt their right knees in last week's loss to Indianapolis.

Roos sat out last week as he recovered from an appendectomy, snapping his 119-game consecutive start streak. Now that he's had 10 days to recover, Roos may be healthier than some of his line mates.

``I always want to be out there,'' Roos said after practice Wednesday. ``It was definitely weird to miss one. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back out there and get back with the group and see how well we can play against them.''

The question is exactly who will wind up on the field Sunday against the Bears. Velasco practiced fully Wednesday, and Stewart managed to finish the game last week after both he and Harris got hurt on the same play on the opening drive. He didn't practice Wednesday, but coach Mike Munchak is hoping Stewart can practice by Friday and be available.

``He's a guy that usually rallies and can play,'' Munchak said of Stewart. ``We should have him back. Probably the only position will be right guard.''

Harris had surgery on his right knee during the offseason, which limited him during preseason. He did not return against the Colts and watched practice Wednesday. Munchak said either Kevin Matthews or Deuce Lutui would start if Harris isn't available. The good news for Tennessee is that Harris' injury doesn't look nearly as bad as the Titans feared at first.

``Guys are so different with knees and how they respond to them,'' Munchak said. ``Now it's more of a day-to-day to see where he's at and then we can figure it out. I would think he'll definitely be playing again here sooner rather than later.''

The Titans rank 12th in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass attempt and have given up 15 sacks this season. They gave up only two in the 19-13 overtime loss to Indianapolis last week even with backup Mike Otto playing in his first game this season starting for Roos and with the shuffled offensive line after Harris' injury.

Chicago coach Lovie Smith said the Titans have an excellent offensive line, and he credited both Munchak and Titans' offensive line coach Bruce Matthews.

``Their expertise is the offensive line, they're Hall of Famers, you know what you're going to get from the offensive line and the running game, so that's what we have to be mindful of this week,'' Smith said.

The Bears come to Tennessee with 23 sacks and rank seventh in sacks per pass attempt. Munchak said the Bears crowd the line and attack and called it a ``big challenge.''

Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, sacked 12 times this season, said the line shuffling is a challenge but thinks they handled it really well against Indianapolis. He credited Munchak's philosophy of having everyone get practice time on offense, something Hasselbeck wasn't used to before coming to Tennessee.

``It's not like the most crazy thing in the world when those guys have to get reps in a game,'' Hasselbeck said. ``They play together. It's not the same five guys all the time. In that regard, I think we're well prepared for it.''

Notes: Jake Locker was limited Wednesday but did practice in team drills. Munchak said the next step will be when the quarterback can handle contact with the left, non-throwing shoulder dislocated twice in the first month. ... TE Jared Cook, who reportedly asked to be traded earlier this week, was not in the locker room after practice. ... The Titans listed 13 players on the injury report Wednesday. WR Kenny Britt (knee), WR Nate Washington (knee), S Michael Griffin (hip), DE Kamerion Wimbley (toe) all practiced. LB Colin McCarthy (right ankle) was limited.


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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.


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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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