Redskins

49ers preparing to face Packers in 2nd round

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49ers preparing to face Packers in 2nd round

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers are preparing for next week's division-round playoff game as if they already know their opponent.

With a first-round bye a trio of San Francisco scout teamers wore the jerseys numbers of key Green Bay Packers during Friday's practice.

They simulated top Green Bay wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson along with tight end Jermichael Finley as third-string 49ers quarterback Scott Tolzien tossed passes.

``There's definitely some game planning going on,'' said tight Garrett Celek, who swapped his usual No. 81 jersey for a red No. 88, which is Finley's number.

``Still, we're not sure who we're going to play. But since we have this week, we're taking advantage of it and getting certain things ready for whatever happens next week.''

The Packers, seeded third in the NFC, host No. 6 Minnesota on Saturday night. If Green Bay beats the Vikings, the Packers will play at San Francisco on Jan. 12.

Otherwise the 49ers (11-4-1) will host the winner of Sunday's game between fourth-seeded Washington and No. 5 Seattle.

Among the other 49ers in different uniform numbers: Chad Hall wore No. 18 (Cobb) and Ricardo Lockette dressed in No. 87 (Nelson).

``It's definitely helpful. We've faced those guys before and we have a potential of seeing those guys again,'' Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson said.

Typically, Ed Donatell, who coaches the secondary, and other defensive assistants bring practice squad wide receivers, tight ends and running backs into meetings to teach players tendencies of San Francisco's opponent that week. Offensive assistants will do the same for defensive players tagged for the ``look team.''

Players will take that knowledge onto the practice field against the first-team offense and defense to prepare the starters for the game. If nothing else, it gets players used to seeing the routes and numbers of their upcoming opponent.

The only difference this week is that the 49ers don't actually have an opponent.

``I think it's really important. We have all this time off, so you might as well take advantage of it,'' said Celek, the brother of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek.

``I think to just sit on our butts and do nothing wouldn't be very smart. We've got to get ahead of the curve and I think this is a good way to do it.''

While the 49ers won't practice again until Monday, players will be tuned into this weekend's games.

Players said they'll be watching as casual observers, leaving the scouting for the film coaches to break down when they return to 49ers headquarters.

They also said it doesn't make a difference what team they face, though Washington would be the only possible opponent San Francisco hasn't seen yet.

The 49ers won 30-22 at Green Bay in Week 1. They split both games against the Seahawks, winning 13-6 in Week 7 at San Francisco and falling 42-13 at Seattle in Week 16 - the most lopsided loss of coach Jim Harbaugh's two-year tenure.

``It's all about consistency,'' left tackle Joe Staley said. ``You've got to do it again. What you did last time doesn't mean anything going into next game. We just have to continue to improve. We just got to be consistent and do it again. That's the challenge each and every week is just to build on any successes you had last week and change anything you didn't do well the week before. That's our focus.''

NOTES: DT Justin Smith practiced with a brace over his injured left arm for the second straight day. He is planning to play despite a partially torn triceps muscle that sidelined him for the final two regular-season games. ... David Akers and Billy Cundiff continued their kicking competition. Coach Jim Harbaugh stood behind them as they kicked without an offensive or defensive line during the portion of practice open to reporters. Both looked sharp, but Cundiff appeared to have considerably more pop off his kicks. ... RB Frank Gore watched practice from the sideline. ... LB Aldon Smith wore a black non-contact jersey.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 23, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins  and NBC Sports Washington.

Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense—NFL coaches and others like to tell you that competition determines who wins roster spots in the league. And that may be true to an extent. But many roster spots are predetermined by a player’s contract situation and/or draft status. It is unlikely that an undrafted player like Fish Smithson will win a roster spot over Troy Apke even if the former outperforms the latter in every way during training camp. Apke was a fourth-round pick and they aren’t going to give up on him in favor of an undrafted player. It would cost $3.2 million in dead cap to cut Stacy McGee and only $150,000 to move on from Ziggy Hood so McGee will win a “competition” that is even remotely close. (Offensive projection here)

Redskins will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor at training camp—While this is something that could add a little spice to the Jets’ visit to Richmond, don’t look for much of anything to happen. Zach Brown might give a little extra shove to Pryor here and there but he’s not going to do anything that will draw blood or even cause a deep bruise. If nothing else, a big hit on Pryor would invite retaliation by the Jets on Josh Doctson or Paul Richardson. And that might lead to more retaliation and you end up with a brawl like the Redskins and Texans had a couple of years ago.

Trent Williams very much of approves of Smith and Guice—Williams is going into his ninth NFL season and he has yet to be on the winning side of a playoff game. He thinks that Alex Smith and Derrius Guice can help change that. 

The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list—I normally greet this list with a big yawn and this year was no exception. But I do find the omission of Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating and was third in adjusted net yards per attempt, odd. In an update to this post, the NFL released the names of the top 10 players and Smith is not on it. He shouldn’t be, but he should be somewhere on the 100, perhaps in the middle of the pack. The only Redskins player to appear on the list was Trent Williams at No. 57.

The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger—It’s likely that nine players who are 25 or younger will line up as starters for the Redskins this year. I don’t have a rundown of how that compares to the rest of the league but it’s notable that in the last two years six of them have replaced players who were either approaching age 30 or over it. I’ll engage in some speculation here and say that five of the young players—Daron Payne, Derrius Guice, Preston Smith, Jonathan Allen, and Montae Nicholson—are good enough to potentially make a Pro Bowl at some point in their careers. 

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Former Redskins defensive tackle Dave Butz was born on this date in 1950. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 33
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 70

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 78 days. 

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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USA TODAY Sports

GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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