Redskins

Seferian-Jenkins rewriting record book for Huskies

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Seferian-Jenkins rewriting record book for Huskies

SEATTLE (AP) From the standpoint of pure athleticism, there are might not be anyone on Washington's roster that can match wide receiver Kasen Williams.

So Williams didn't like it much when sophomore Austin Seferian-Jenkins, one of the few who could make the case of being equal to Williams, decided to add defensive end to his resume along with being one of the top tight ends in the country.

``I want to do the same thing he is doing. I don't want to be sitting here. That just shows that he may be a better athlete than me and I'm not down for that,'' Williams said, with a laugh.

Seferian-Jenkins holds most Washington records for productivity by a tight end after less than two full seasons heading into Friday's Apple Cup against rival Washington State.

The versatile Seferian-Jenkins, who also plays on the basketball team, is on his way to becoming one of the more dynamic players in Washington's program. In hoops, he came off the bench a season ago when Washington won the Pac-12 Conference regular season title.

Seferian-Jenkins also pitched in the last two weeks as a pass-rushing defensive end because injuries have thinned the Huskies defensive line. Oh, and he recovered a fumble last week at Colorado.

``I'm just lucky to be able to have great teammates around me and great coaches and a great quarterback that make this possible,'' Seferian-Jenkins said. ``So it doesn't surprise me in the fact that I have all these great players around me that would help me get to where I want to be.''

His decision to play both basketball and football at Washington wasn't based on trying to follow the success of NFL stars Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham and other who have translated the skills of a post player on the basketball court into the supplemental skills on the football field.

Seferian-Jenkins did it because he enjoys basketball, although he's seeing the benefits on the football field.

Catching a pass at its highest point and the eye-hand coordination required is just like going up for a rebound. The footwork needed to set a screen and spin to post up on the low block aren't much different from coming out of a three-point stance and drive blocking on a run play.

``A lot of the post moves honestly help with the offensive line,'' Seferian-Jenkins said. ``Along with just running the court and making cuts, doing dribbles, crossovers, behind the ball, all that can be translated back over to the passing game with getting open and using your hands.''

Seferian-Jenkins is already Washington's all-time leader for a tight end in single season receptions (58 entering Friday), career receptions (99), career yards (1,291) and career receiving touchdowns (11). He would need to stay all four years and increase his production slightly, but he does have a shot at the NCAA record for yards receiving by a tight end, currently held by Dennis Pitta.

After just 24 career games at Washington, at a school known for producing NFL caliber tight ends, Seferian-Jenkins could establish school marks that will stand for generations. He's a finalist for the Mackey Award, given to the top tight end in the country along, along with Stanford's Zach Ertz and Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert.

But Seferian-Jenkins is the only one who will return next season and there's no doubt he has at least one more season of catching passes at Washington. As a true sophomore, he's not yet eligible to declare for the NFL draft.

``I think his willingness to improve in the blocking game is evident,'' Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. ``We are seeing him doing a better job of that. And his willingness to do what's best for the team by going over and playing on defense in some obvious passing downs and recovering a fumble in last week's ball game, I think speaks volumes for the type of individual he is.

``If there are three better tight ends in this country better than Austin, then I'd like to see them. I know there's some pretty good ones in our conference, but I'd put 88 right up with them all.''

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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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.

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Will the Caps be able to take advantage of home ice in Game 5?

Will the Caps be able to take advantage of home ice in Game 5?

There's a saying in sports that goes, "A series doesn't start until a team loses at home." For the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets, their series won't start until someone wins at home.

Four games into the series, the road team has won every game. Columbus took Game 1 and Game 2 from Capital One Arena and the Caps answered back by winning Game 3 and Game 4 in Ohio.

"We came [to Columbus] to try to get the first one," Barry Trotz said after Thursday's win. "Did that. We came here to get the second one. Did that. All we've done is just got on even terms."

Now the series is a best of three with two of those final three games in Washington, but how much of an advantage does that really give the Caps?

"We've got to make sure that we're ready to go," Trotz said. "I think we have been since we got here. We've just got to do it at home."

The various playoff struggles the Caps have suffered in the Alex Ovechkin era have been well-documented to this point. One particularly maddening issue is the team's struggles to win at home. Since 2008, the first year the Ovechkin-led Caps made the playoffs, the team is just 28-25 in home playoff games. Since 2015, Trotz's first season as head coach, the Caps are 12-10 in Washington.

Part of that is just the nature of hockey. Upsets are prevalent in the playoffs in the NHL and home-ice advantage does not mean as much as it does in other sports. But it should mean more than 28-25.

Besides having the crowd on your side, home ice also provides matchup advantages. The home team gets the second line change at home, meaning during a stoppage in play the home coach gets the opportunity to see who the opponent puts on the ice before making his own change. For the Caps, this means getting Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen on the ice against Artemi Panarin.

Trotz has matched his top shutdown pair against Columbus' top line all series long. According to Natural Stat Trick, when Niskanen was on the ice in Game 4 he held Panarin's Corsi For percentage to 36.36. When Niskanen was not on the ice, Panarin's percentage shot up to 71.43. 

Theoretically, it should be much easier for Trotz to get those favorable matchups at home. Now all the Caps have to do is take advantage.

"Our home record hasn't been really great in the last little stretch at the end of the season here and obviously the first two games of the playoffs," Trotz said. "We owe it to our fans, we owe it to ourselves to take advantage of that."

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