Redskins

Bills tickets in Toronto now more affordable

Bills tickets in Toronto now more affordable

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) With an agreement nearly in place to have the Buffalo Bills continue playing an annual home game in Toronto beyond this season, Rogers Communications executives are confident this north-of-the-border experiment can succeed.

Just not at any ticket price.

After having difficulty selling out the first six games - including two during the preseason - organizers have drastically reduced ticket prices.

The average price for a ticket for Buffalo's ``home'' game against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 16 in Toronto will be $99. That's down from about $160 in 2008, when the series began.

``I really think the thing that impacted this thing negatively in the past is price-point on tickets,'' Greg Albrecht, the series' newly appointed executive director, said Monday. ``In all of our marketing, that's what we hammered home was ticket-pricing has been reduced, not because the product on the field is any worse or better, it's because we were not aligned with the rest of the NFL teams.''

Albrecht said the Toronto series average ticket is still about $17 above the NFL average, which he believes is acceptable because the game is a once-a-year event. It's still a marked drop from the first year, when prices ranged from $99-$275. This year, they range from $48-$225.

The reduction comes at a time when the series is set to expire. The game against the Seahawks is the finale of the five-year deal reached between the Bills and Rogers, the Toronto-based communications company giant.

Albrecht said negotiations to renew the series are nearly complete.

``I think we still have to dot a few I's and cross a few T's. I think it's more administrative at this point,'' he said. ``But we're obviously confident that we'd like to move this thing forward.''

The Bills are in favor of extending the series, because it provides them a foothold in Canada's largest city and financial capital. With Toronto only about a two-hour drive from Buffalo, the Bills have also been able to lure Toronto-area fans to attend games at Orchard Park.

The team estimates that 15 percent of its season-ticket base is from southern Ontario.

The formal announcement of a series extension is not expected until early next year. One holdup is the Bills are in negotiations with state and county officials to renew their lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium, which expires in July.

Progress has been made in lease negotiations since stalling in late summer. But talks are temporarily on hold because New York officials have spent the past month directing much of their attention on the lasting effects of Superstorm Sandy.

Rogers agreed to pay the Bills $78 million to play eight games (including three preseason) at the downtown domed 54,000-seat Rogers Centre. It's unknown whether the entire amount was paid after a scheduling conflict in August led to Rogers having the Bills take back a preseason game that was set to be played in Toronto.

An extension of the series is expected to be similar to the previous deal, with Buffalo playing one annual regular-season game in Toronto, though it's unclear how many - if any preseason games - will be included this time.

Despite enduring numerous growing pains, Rogers remains committed to making the series work.

``I think it would be silly for us to say, `We're not going to entertain moving this thing forward,' after quite honestly some of the pain that we've faced in the past years of learning,'' Albrecht said. ``We have our learning now, and I think this game will prove we're on the right path.''

Albrecht, who took over the series in August, has stopped the previous practice of giving away tickets in order to draw larger crowds. He's also worked on turning the game into more of an entertainment event.

He's already scored a coup by signing South Korean rap sensation PSY to perform during half time. PSY's ``Gangnam Style'' has become YouTube's most-viewed video, generating more than 840 million views.

``I think just being topical and being fun: That's what this whole thing is all about,'' Albrecht said. ``We're opening it to not just die-hard football fans, but opening it up to people who might be on the fence right now, or folks who want to spend an afternoon wanting to have a good time.''

Albrecht has a broad background in overseeing sports and entertainment projects, including the 2010 Vancouver Games and two Canadian Football League Grey Cup championships.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

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Various sources

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Davis as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

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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An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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