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Turner returning to prominence for Falcons

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Turner returning to prominence for Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Running back Michael Turner has found his groove and it couldn't come at a better time for the Atlanta Falcons.

The first two weeks of the season were tough on Turner, who struggled to establish some rhythm on the field and made his circumstances worse with a Sept. 18 arrest on DUI and speeding charges.

But his showing over the last two weeks proves that Turner perhaps has regained some focus in Atlanta's offense.

``Yeah, and hopefully we can keep that going,'' Turner said on Friday. ``There's still some things we need to improve on, but we're winning, so everything's fine. You'd like to fix it while we're winning than wait 'til something bad happens and then you start worrying about it. Get it while it's good.''

Turner averaged a paltry 2.6 yards per carry over his first 28 attempts this season, his most explosive run coming 15-yard gain that helped the Falcons seal a Week 2 victory over Denver.

A few hours after the game, Turner was arrested in Gwinnett County driving 97 mph on Interstate-85 and was charged with DUI.

Because it's still an ongoing legal matter, Turner said he will not comment on the incident until it's complete, but he did apologize for embarrassing the team and vowed to get better on the field.

His promise has held true so far.

Turner has averaged 6.8 yards per attempt over the last two weeks and looks more like the two-time Pro Bowl running back who has rushed for 5,538 yards and a franchise record 52 touchdowns since signing as a free agent in 2008.

When Turner is in sync, Atlanta's opponents are forced to bring up a safety for run support, a scenario that gives quarterback Matt Ryan the option of using play-action passes to exploit one-on-one matchups for receivers Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones.

It's a good formula for success and one that Atlanta (4-0) hopes to keep building on Sunday at Washington (2-2).

``When (you) play against us, what are you going to do?'' said Gonzalez, the 16th-year tight end and the NFL's No. 2 career-leading receiver. ``It just adds to the choose-your-poison offense that we want to be, that we strive to be.''

``We'll see what they to do, but if they want to stop the run, they've got to put more people in the box, which is going to open up for Matt and passing game to throw it to us. So that's the good balance and we've got to keep it up.''

Four-time Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White benefited enormously from the man-to-man matchups against Carolina, catching for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

``Any time we can get the big guy running like that and those guys got to bring their safeties down to the box, me and Julio are going to have a fun day,'' White said. ``We love when we can get that safety down there and helping out on the run and we can play-action and go deep and things like that. If the big boy can run like that for the next 13 games (laughing), we'll be fine.''

The Falcons are third in scoring with 31 points per game, maybe not a good omen for a Washington defense that allows an average of 30.8 and ranks 27th.

Washington's pass rush has produced just seven sacks, with 3.5 of them belonging to outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, but Turner believes the Redskins could still pose some problems with ball security.

Led by 15th-year inside linebacker London Fletcher, Washington's 3-4 front has helped lead an attack that ranks sixth in the NFL with nine takeaways.

``He's probably the most underrated player in the league,'' Turner said. ``His resume speaks for itself. He's always going to be around the football. He has a great nose for the football, has great skills to get off blockers and make plays. We've got to be able to handle him and other guys. They've got some big boys up front, too.''

Turner just wants to keep staying his current course - shoulder pads square, hitting an open space and breaking tackles into the second level of the defense.

He even showed some savvy in the passing game last week, catching a screen over the middle and running for a 60-yard touchdown.

``We want to be two-dimensional offensively,'' Turner said. ``As long as we can keep improving, we'll be all right.''

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

We are nearing the start of the NFL Draft, less than three days to be exact, and right now there are a ton of names circling around whom the Washington Redskins should take at No. 13.

You’ve probably read countless mock drafts at this point (if you haven’t or need another here is ours), and there’s one thing that is consistent: nothing.

So let's concern ourselves less of ‘who’ and exactly what each player will bring to the Redskins.

There are very few evaluators of talent better than the NFL Network’s Charles Davis, so he got to talk with J.P. Finlay and Mitch Tischler on the latest edition of the Redskins Talk podcast.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST WITH CHARLES DAVIS HERE

He broke down EVERYONE that Washington could be taking at No. 13 overall. If you don’t have time to listen (which we highly recommend that you do), here are some of the highlights:

“This could be a wild first night,” said Davis. “All of these different trade scenarios are out there right? My experience has been that most of that calms down as we get closer. There’s a lot of discussion and chatter about it, but we don’t usually have it.”

REDSKINS NEEDS:

“At 13, when you’re really down to it, Mitch I think you had said to me even before we began ‘O-line, D-line man, let’s talk O-line, D-line,’ and I think that is the perfect place for this Washington team.”

VITA VEA, DT, WASHINGTON

“If Vita Vea from Washington somehow is sitting there at 13, and the idea that you could go up there and put him a line and get Jonathan Allen back from last year, I think that’d be a great place to go. This is a top-10, top-5 talent in this draft that possibly could still be around at 13.”

“When we’re talking about the people that are in our business, the talking heads that people kind of go to and kind of get held accountable for their mock drafts… you don’t really see Vea in any consistency in the top ten.”

“Eleven is kind of the breakpoint for him.”

MAURICE HURST, DT, MICHIGAN

“I like him. I don’t know that I like him quite that high.”

DA’RON PAYNE, DT, ALABAMA

“I like Payne, better than Hurst, but again I don’t know about quite that high.”

“The medical, you can’t help it when you’re talking about a heart. You can’t help but be a little bit concerned. Now he has gotten clearance, that has come through, but we all know that each team is going to do it’s own research and got to decide how comfortable they are with that.”

QUENTON NELSON, OL, NOTRE DAME

“I doubt he is falling to 13, because if somehow he falls to eight to the Bears and if the Bears don’t run up to the podium and plug him in, I’d be stunned.”

ORLANDO BROWN JR., OT, OKLAHOMA

“Normally when you have a combine and you have some things that you have some questions marks on, normally you have some balancers. Orlando Brown had zero balancers. Everything was historically bad.”

WILL HERNANDEZ, G, UTEP

“Now Will Hernandez has had about as good a postseason as an offensive lineman can have.”

“This kid Hernandez has become a massive road grater, quicker than you would think, better pass protector and he did all of this on an 0-12 team last year. So he is another guy to keep an eye on, especially if as you said they are able to move back.”

DERRIUS GUICE, RB, LSU

“I’d be surprised at 13.”

“Get back to 19 and then I think Guice is in play at 19. If that indeed is the runner that they like. I think the running back renaissance is real.”

JOHN KELLY, RB, TENNESSEE

“I think this John Kelly kid from Tennessee is a really good runner. He had a little trouble off-field last year, missed a game because of all that, but this kid runs hard, plays hard, he’s not Alvin Kamara… but this kid is more of a pure running back than Kamara is, he’s just not a bulky guy.”

TRADING BACK

“They’re in a tough spot because of the number. We’ve got all of this stuff now.”

“That’s a tough one, because if I’m Dallas and I want to come up and get my guy [Calvin Ridley], I don’t need to come up as high as 13 anyway, if you really think about it.”

BILLY PRICE, OL, Ohio State

“He’s a really good player. The kid played guard, he played center. Price is a really good technician. 44 a possibility? Possibility. Before the injury he was going late-first, early second.”

This is only scratching the surface of what the expert talked about. Get the full experience and listen to the full podcast.

MORE DRAFT COVERAGE:

- SEVEN ROUND REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT

- ODDS ON FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICKS