Redskins

Brady, like Kaepernick, once replaced injured QB

201212121143422143508-p2.jpeg

Brady, like Kaepernick, once replaced injured QB

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The veteran quarterback ran up the sideline back in his own territory, took a hard shot from the linebacker and went down.

He stayed in the game but couldn't finish it and lost his starting job. The career of the player born in Washington state and chosen with the top pick in the NFL draft would never be the same.

No, not Alex Smith.

Try Drew Bledsoe.

On Sunday night, the pros who replaced veteran standouts meet when Tom Brady leads the New England Patriots against Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers.

By the time Bledsoe, the top pick in 1993, recovered from a sheared blood vessel in his chest in 2001, Brady was entrenched at quarterback. Now, 11 years later, Brady says he didn't feel awkward despite Bledsoe's disappointment at losing his job after being injured.

``It was a long time ago for me, but there was nothing like that on our team,'' he said Wednesday. ``I had great support from all of the quarterbacks, especially Drew, at the time. I don't really know what's going on in San Francisco.''

That's where Smith, the No. 1 draft choice in 2005, suffered a concussion on Dec. 2 in a collision with Jo-Lonn Dunbar of the St. Louis Rams near the left sideline on a 4-yard run to the 49ers 26-yard line.

He kept playing, completing his final five passes on the series. He finished it off with a 14-yard scoring throw to Michael Crabtree early in the second quarter.

Kaepernick replaced Smith for the next series and he hasn't played since.

Bledsoe's injury came in the second game of the 2001 season on an 8-yard run when he was hit in the fourth quarter at the right sideline by Mo Lewis of the New York Jets. He stayed in the game until being replaced by Brady for the final series.

The young backup completed four of five passes to the Jets' 29 but threw incompletions on the final four plays of the Jets' 10-3 win.

So what's it like for the young guy to replace the old guy?

``Am I an old guy or a young guy now?'' Brady said with a smile.

He's 35 now with three NFL championships, two Super Bowl MVP awards and two league MVP awards. When he took over, he was 24 and Bledsoe was 29 with three Pro Bowl appearances.

``As a player, you just try to focus on what you have to do to help the team win,'' Brady said. ``When you're not playing, you support the guys that are playing. You help out in practice and then when you get your opportunity, you try to go in there and support the team by playing.

``Ultimately it's about winning games. It's not about an individual. It's about doing what's best for the team. So when you play, you've got to play well.''

Bledsoe was cleared for the 10th game in 2001 and was the No. 2 quarterback but didn't play in it. His next chance came when Brady hurt his left ankle in the second quarter of the AFC championship game.

In his first game in more than four months, Bledsoe threw an 11-yard touchdown pass for a 14-3 halftime lead, then led a field-goal drive and helped take time off the clock with clutch third-down completions. The Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-17.

``I compare it to giving a starving man a little taste,'' he said then.

But four days before the Super Bowl, coach Bill Belichick announced that Brady would start. And the sixth-round pick delivered, throwing for 145 yards and one touchdown as the Patriots secured the first of their championships with a 20-17 upset of St. Louis.

Now, San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh has chosen Kaepernick over Smith to lead the offense down the stretch. At 9-3-1, a win Sunday would clinch the NFC West title if the Seattle Seahawks lose. The 49ers would still clinch a playoff spot if both win.

``I really don't want to compare it to any other situation, but I think it was a unique situation here,'' Harbaugh said of the quarterback changes. ``Two guys that we believe in, believe can win games for us, and picking one. It's who do you think can give us the best chance for this game?''

Smith and Bledsoe were upset to lose their jobs after being hurt.

``I want to play as bad as I ever wanted anything,'' Bledsoe said at the time. ``I mean, it's the Super Bowl. It's what you play for.''

But Brady had gone 13-3 in his starts, so he got the call and the Patriots won the championship. Now Kaepernick is 3-1 as a starter. And that's what counts, not the feelings of the quarterbacks.

So the considerations in deciding who should play - the recovered veteran or the promising second-year pro - are simple.

``To win. There are no other considerations,'' Belichick said. ``That's the only thing we're really here for is to win. What else is there? I don't know.

``What else is there to talk about?''

---

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

Quick Links

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

martez_carter_vs_jets.png
Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

 

Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

ovi_red_carpet_062118.png
NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: