Redskins

Tebow will travel with Jets, be game-time decision

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Tebow will travel with Jets, be game-time decision

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Tim Tebow is heading home - possibly as only a sideline spectator.

It will be a game-time decision as to whether the New York Jets' backup quarterback plays in the team's game in his hometown of Jacksonville against the Jaguars on Sunday.

``As far as Tim is concerned, we want to make sure,'' coach Rex Ryan said Friday. ``He's done more this week in practice, quite a bit more. We want to see how he travels and what he feels like on game day.''

Tebow, healing from two broken ribs, will fly with the team Saturday and Ryan and the team doctors will determine before the game if he will play. He is listed as questionable after being limited in practice all week.

Tight end Dustin Keller will likely not play after being sidelined all week at practice with a sprained left ankle. He is listed as doubtful, while wide receiver Clyde Gates (concussion) is out. Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill (knee) and nose tackle Sione Po'uha (lower back) are questionable after being limited Friday, while defensive tackle Damon Harrison is doubtful after not practicing a day after turning an ankle.

If Tebow can play, Ryan said it's possible all three quarterbacks - Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy and Tebow - could be active for this first time this season.

``It's something you don't really want to do,'' Ryan said. ``Sometimes at this time of year, you have so many nicks that you're trying to find a guy to put in that spot. You'll very rarely have three quarterbacks up in today's game.''

McElroy, however, probably earned a chance to be active for the second time in his two-year career after taking over for a benched Sanchez against Arizona last Sunday and leading New York to the only touchdown of the game in a 7-6 victory.

``I want Mark and I want Tim to go out there and play fantastic, and I know they will,'' said McElroy, who was 5 of 7 for 29 yards in his NFL debut. ``That's my goal this week, and that's my role this week, to make sure those guys perform as best as they possibly can. The best way to do that is to try to visualize and try to have enough communication with those guys and let them know what the defense is doing.''

McElroy took snaps only with the scout team this week as Sanchez worked with the first-team offense after Ryan decided to stick with him as the starting quarterback.

``Nothing really changed all that much,'' McElroy said. ``It's been relatively similar for me throughout the course of the week.''

Tebow is a unique case because of the multiple roles he fills for the Jets, running their wildcat-style read-option packages and also playing on special teams as the personal punt protector. But, Ryan caught himself during his news conference Friday giving away that the Jets didn't have any wildcat periods in practice this week.

``I don't want to say that we don't have any wildcat, so I kind of blew that there,'' Ryan said, smiling. He then quickly joked: ``But besides our two additional wildcat periods we had this week ...''

Ryan also basically ruled out Tebow assuming his role as the punt protector for this week. So, it appears his role would be more limited than usual if he does play.

Tebow was injured at Seattle on Nov. 11, and played three offensive snaps the following week at St. Louis. He was active but Ryan kept him on the sideline - to be used only in ``an emergency'' - against New England after the quarterback convinced the coach he could play following a pregame evaluation.

Despite being medically cleared, Tebow was inactive last Sunday against Arizona because he still wasn't completely healed. Tebow said Wednesday he would have another set of X-rays, likely later in the week, to see how the healing is progressing.

Ryan has been pleased with what he saw from Sanchez since announcing that he would remain the starter for at least this week.

``He's had an excellent week of practice,'' Ryan said. ``I see a lot of energy from him. I see him bouncing around and you can tell he feels good. I think he feels good about the plan, and I think he's confident.''

Sanchez is looking to bounce back in a big way following perhaps the worst stretch of his NFL career. He has two touchdowns, five interceptions and two lost fumbles in four games - and his first NFL benching - since the team's bye-week break last month.

``He has pulled himself up before in situations,'' Ryan said. ``But I think his competitiveness (will help him) and he understands, you just have to go out and play the position and do it to the best of your ability, believe in your teammates and I think that's it. Protect the football. That's all we're asking him to do. Play the position, do what you do, but protect the football.''

Sanchez will likely be without his favorite target this week in Keller, who was hurt late in the opening half against Arizona. Keller is second on the team with 28 receptions, but backup Jeff Cumberland has been solid this season with 21 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns - including the one he caught from McElroy last week.

``I'm really happy with the way Jeff Cumberland has progressed,'' Ryan said. ``We expected him to get better, but you see it, really, as a blocker but even as a receiver. He's made some nice catches for us and things, so we're fortunate to have Jeff behind us.''

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The Redskins are going to draft the best available player, unless they aren't

The Redskins are going to draft the best available player, unless they aren't

When their turn comes up in this draft, the Redskins are going to pick the best available player on the board. Unless they’re not. 

That is the mixed message delivered on Tuesday by Doug Williams, the team’s senior vice president for player personnel during his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday. 

Williams was asked what nearly every NFL personnel executive has been asked during this round of draft press conferences: Will the Redskins take the best player on the board or would they draft for need?

And Williams gave an answer similar to the ones that all of the other personnel guys gave. 

“You hear this cliché all the time, it’s always going to be the best player available, because at the same time if you’re looking for a need, the player you’re looking for a need might not be graded as high as the guy that’s on that board,” he said. 

That makes some fans crazy as they believe that you must fill needs in the draft. But reaching to fill needs is a good way to have a mediocre, disjointed draft. 

But there are times when the best available player is not the player the Redskins will pick. The topic of injuries came up and Williams talked about the situation at offensive tackle. Morgan Moses and Trent Williams currently are rehabbing from injuries and they won’t take the field during OTAs and minicamp. 

Doug Williams said that both players should be ready for training camp. He didn’t mention it but Trent Williams and Moses are signed for the next three and five years, respectively. That means that there is no need for a tackle in at least the first two rounds, and Williams agrees. 

“We can’t go into the draft drafting tackles, you know,” he said. 

So if, say, offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame has the highest grade on the Redskins’ board when pick 13 comes up, they will not be taking the player with the best grade. They will “reach”, perhaps only slightly, to take a player at another position. 

The Redskins have a similar situation at quarterback. They are committed to Alex Smith for at least three seasons and it would be foolish to spend a high pick on a quarterback. Williams said that the Redskins are not in the quarterback business this year. If there is a top QB still on the board at pick 13, it’s likely that Williams and Bruce Allen would be looking for phone calls from teams that want to trade up and get their signal caller. 

The true test of how the team chooses needs vs. best available could well come this year. Let’s say that Da’Ron Payne, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Tremaine Edmunds are all on the board when the Redskins’ pick comes up. While each team has its own grades, you probably won’t find many that don’t have Fitzpatrick and Edmunds a clear cut above Payne. The Redskins have needs on the defensive line, not so much at inside linebacker or in the secondary. Picking Payne at that point could be interpreted as reaching to fill a need while leaving more talented and more versatile players on the board. Going best available would almost surely mean choosing between Fitzpatrick and Edmunds. 

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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/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

GAME 5: WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT TORONTO RAPTORS

Series: Series tied 2-2
Where: Air Canada Centre
Tip-off: 7:02 p.m. (earlier tipoff than usual)
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Pivotal game

The Wizards have done their part in winning both games at home to even up this series at 2-2. Now comes Game 5, which could very well determine who takes this series.

Winners of Game 5 in a seven-game series tied at 2-2 hold a 164-34 (.828) record all-time. That means teams that lose Game 5 come back to win the final two games and the series only 17.2 percent of the time.

The Wizards need to get this one and they know all too well why. Last year they were in this same position in their second round series against the Boston Celtics. They went down 0-2, won the next two games but then lost Game 5 and ultimately the series in seven games.

Road warriors

The Wizards will also have to do something they have yet to do in a while in Game 5 and that is win on the road. Though they have won eight straight home postseason games, they have lost their last six on the road. It goes back to that Celtics series when Washington lost all four games in Boston. The last time they won on the road in the playoffs was Game 6 last year against the Hawks.

The Raptors are particularly tough in Toronto. They were 34-7 this season at home, tied with the Houston Rockets for the best record in the NBA. 

The recent historical odds are also in Toronto's favor. Since 2003, the home team has won each of the first four games in a seven-game series 35 times. In those series, the home team has held a Game 5 record of 22-13 and a series record of 26-9. If the Raptors get Game 5, history will be on their side to go on to win the series.

Can Otto get going?

Games 3 and 4 in Washington saw All-Star Bradley Beal break out to score 28 and 31 points. Will we see the same from Otto Porter before this series is over?

Game 4 seemed to suggest that is possible. After scoring only one point in the first half, Porter erupted for 10 points in the third quarter alone. Though he only scored 12 points in the game overall, it was the most aggressive we have seen him all series.

Porter is averaging just 10.3 points per game through four playoff games. He is shooting 50 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from three, and as long as the Wizards are winning he won't complain, but Porter can do much more than that on offense. If he starts scoring more, the Wizards will be tough to stop.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WALL HAS REACHED PEAK FORM AMAZINGLY QUICK

WALL IS BOYCOTTING DRAKE'S MUSIC DURING SERIES

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast: