Redskins

Banged-up Packers focused on Arizona

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Banged-up Packers focused on Arizona

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Green Bay Packers played without eight starters last weekend, and coach Mike McCarthy added two more players to the injury list on Monday.

The flood of injuries affected Green Bay's practice schedule in the run-up to Sunday's lackluster 24-15 victory over Jacksonville, but McCarthy isn't about to use them as an excuse.

``The injuries are part of the game. It's unfortunate on a personal level,'' McCarthy said. ``There's things that go on in our world in the game of football that are just unsaid. It's just the way you go about your business. It's what you accept and it's part of the grind of an NFL season.

``People ask me, `How does it impact your football team?' I've never taken the time to try to quantify the impact it has on your team.''

Wide receivers Greg Jennings (torn abdominal muscle) and Jordy Nelson (hamstring), fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) and running back Cedric Benson (sprained foot) were among the starters who missed Sunday's game. Safety Charles Woodson (broken collarbone), cornerback Sam Shields (ankle) and linebackers Nick Perry (knee), D.J. Smith (knee) and Desmond Bishop (hamstring) also were out.

Jennings was scheduled to undergo sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia on Tuesday, but McCarthy said it was postponed because of the superstorm on the East Coast.

``Exactly when he will go? That has not been determined yet,'' McCarthy said.

McCarthy also added defensive ends Jerel Worthy (concussion) and Mike Neal (knee) to the list of injured players.

The increasing amount of injuries affected Green Bay's preparations for the game against Jacksonville. For instance, with so many players down, McCarthy cut practices short on Wednesday and Thursday. Offensive coordinator Tom Clements estimated that the team lost roughly 15 percent of its regular practice snaps.

``Which we had to do just because of the injury situation trying to keep guys healthy,'' he said. ``But we didn't have as many `live reps,' if you want to call them that.

``Obviously when you don't have quality guys like (Jennings and Nelson), you have to overcome it. (But) injuries are a fact of life in the NFL. You try to avoid them, and it's unfortunate when top guys get hurt, but you have to play with the guys who are there.''

Said defensive coordinator Dom Capers: ``You have to adapt based on who you have out there, but I don't think it's made us any less aggressive. If you look at our numbers over the last three weeks, we've been the most aggressive. So maybe it goes the other way. But you adapt.''

Amid Green Bay's health-related misfortune, there is good news: It should get most of the ailing players back. Benson is on injured reserve but has been designated for return, which he says he is on schedule to do.

``That is the positive,'' said Benson, who could play in the Dec. 9 game against Detroit. ``Everybody's expecting to come back and looking forward to coming back and really excited about coming back. That is the positive thing in all these injuries.''

And the Packers (5-3) are still winning despite all the missing players. They have won three in a row heading into Sunday's home game against Arizona.

``Especially if you can get victories now with your key playmakers down,'' outside linebacker Clay Matthews said. ``Getting those guys back, they should return with fresh legs, healthy, ready to make an immediate impact. If we're looking down the road, guys like Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, a healthy B.J. (Raji), you get all these guys healthy, you have your team at full strength, and that's when you want to peak is at the end of the season.''

NOTES: Third-year running back James Starks, who had an 8-yard run and 9-yard reception Sunday, won't see his role expand significantly but could see slightly more playing time, according to McCarthy.

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Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

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USA Today Sports

Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

Yahoo! Sports ranked all 32 head coaches in the NFL and Washington Redskins fans may not be too happy with where Jay Gruden ended up.

Entering his fifth year as head coach, Gruden was ranked as the No. 27 head coach in the NFL. Here's Yahoo!'s rationale behind his ranking:

"Four years, one playoff berth, one plus-.500 season, one franchise quarterback run out of town."

All that is ... not false, but the whole franchise quarterback being run out of town thing is at least debatable. And even if the ranking is fair, it's still okay to be upset because it's the middle of July, training camp hasn't started yet and the offseason is the perfect time to get irrationally angry about things like these.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur checks in at No. 23, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is No. 17 and the Eagles' Doug Pederson is No. 2.

Unsurprisingly, Bill Belichick was ranked No. 1; he may be the greatest of all time when all is said and done, if not already. The top five rounds out with Pederson at No. 2, New Orleans's Sean Payton at No. 3, Minnesota's Mike Zimmer at No. 4 and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin at No. 5.

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Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

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USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.

GOING DOWN?

Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.

NO HOMERS

Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.