Nationals

Broncos promote Gase to offensive coordinator

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Broncos promote Gase to offensive coordinator

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos have hired a new offensive coordinator - and no, his name isn't Peyton Manning.

Adam Gase will be calling the plays next season as he replaces Mike McCoy, who bolted earlier this week to become head coach of the San Diego Chargers.

Sure, Manning will have input - lots of it, actually - but Gase said the four-time NFL MVP actually wants a coach to bounce ideas off of, which they frequently did walking off the practice field in the season the Broncos just finished up.

That built-in familiarity with Manning and the offense is a reason why Gase was promoted from quarterbacks coach Thursday.

``While we did speak with several qualified candidates, it became clear that Adam was the best fit,'' coach John Fox said. ``He did a great job working with Peyton and all of our quarterbacks the last two seasons. Adam is a bright coach with a great future, and I am confident he'll have success in his new role.''

After all, he is sending plays in to Manning, who has a knack for making just about any offensive coordinator look good.

``Peyton does a great job of when you give him a play, if it needs to be better, he does a great job of putting you in that play,'' Gase said. ``That's what he does that's so great, that I don't think people admire enough. That's why you don't see a lot of bad plays with him.''

The two will be in Hawaii together for the Pro Bowl, but they won't interrupt beach time to chat about blitz packages. Gase is going to leave Manning alone until after the game. Then, they'll get down to work.

In the meantime, Gase will brush up on the offense so when Manning comes to him with inquiries, he will be ready.

Asked if Manning ever runs out of questions, Gase responded, ``That would be a firm no.

``His questions are always as productive and great questions,'' said Gase, who joined the Broncos in 2009 as wide receivers coach. ``When he asks questions, you're sitting there going, `That's a great question.'

``If you don't know the answer that second, you better go investigate and figure out what the answers are.''

Manning is coming off a stellar year for the Broncos in his return from four neck surgeries that forced him to sit out a season. He shattered numerous single-season franchise records, including most TD passes (37), yards (4,659), quarterback rating (105.8), completions (400) and completion percentage (68.6).

Still, one of the most indelible images of Manning's first season in the Mile High City was his kneel-down to run out the clock with the ball at his 20, 31 seconds remaining in regulation and two timeouts at his disposal. Manning later threw a costly interception in overtime, setting up the Ravens' game-winning field goal that knocked the top-seeded Broncos out of the postseason.

So, would Gase have had Manning take a knee?

``It was best for our guys to regroup at the time, get to overtime and try to win it,'' the 34-year-old Gase said. ``We had opportunities on offense and didn't make the best of them. It's a disappointing deal.''

Yeah, but would he have preferred the Broncos to be more aggressive?

``We were just trying to regroup at that time,'' he said.

Although the Broncos played at an up-tempo pace all season, Gase thinks they can take it up another notch. And those 30 points they averaged a game? He believes it can soar higher.

``We're looking to play pedal to the metal and play as fast as possible and be aggressive, and score as many points as possible every game,'' Gase said. ``I'm not nervous about calling plays. You have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time as your quarterback. I'm excited. I'm thrilled to be able to have that opportunity.''

It's not like Gase hasn't called a few plays before. Late in games, McCoy would allow him to take a few series, just to throw different wrinkles at opposing defenses.

``We experimented with that a little bit and it went well,'' Gase said.

As for whether the plays he sent in resulted in points, Gase remained silent.

``Not telling,'' he said, chuckling. ``You'll have to figure out which one it was.''

The real task before Gase remains this: Matching Manning's passion.

``When he sees guys do what he does, grind like he does, I think that's what he's looking for with everybody in the building,'' Gase said. ``He gravitates to people like that. I try to do that 100 percent, get after it as much as possible, to give him as many answers as he needed for that week.

``You can't just walk into his meeting room and say, `I think I got it.' You better be on it.''

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… and if that leads us to Bryce Harper’s potential landing spot, then I present to you the yummiest reasons he should stay with the Washington Nationals.

In a video from TMZ, a paparazzi follows Harper to baggage claim and implores him for any hints toward where he is signing this offseason. The only true answer he got was that Harper likes a place called Steak 48 in Chicago. This surf-and-turf hot spot in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago has the audacity to serve “Maryland STYLE lump crab cakes.” Really, Bryce? Will the real thing convince you?!

On that note, let’s start off with the seafood we have to offer. This is the Mid-Atlantic, after all.

How can you work here April-September without eating local crabs in some form? I think that’s impossible. You can choose from hard shell or soft shell, but no shame in either game.

Live Chesapeake blue crabs can be bought at Captain White’s Seafood and other vendors on The Wharf off Maine Avenue. Otherwise, you can sit down and have them steamed for you at Quarterdeck, Ivy City Smokehouse, Bethesda Crab House or Captain Pell’s.

If Harper is more of a soft shell guy, all of those places also serve out-of-the-park crab cakes, but you can’t go wrong with Hank’s Oyster Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chris’ Marketplace, or Clyde’s.

If the star really wants to dive in to local taste, he should eat Chesapeake Bay oysters from the largest estuary in America. My personal favorite selection is at Whaley’s (seafood tower on me, Bryce), but Rapphanock Oyster Bar, The Dabney, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black’s Bar & Kitchen can’t be beat.

I find it hard to believe the team hasn't had an outing at The Salt Line, the lively seafood spot just a short throw from Nats Park where teammate Ryan Zimmerman is an investor and co-owner.

Now that we’ve satisfied Harper’s iron intake, let’s break down his protein. In order to keep the superstar here, I want to make sure he knows that D.C. cares about providing a well-rounded diet.

Barbecued meats in general around here are delectable. Sitting in juxtaposition between the north and south, D.C. restaurants bring a mash-up of styles of smoked and sauced meats. Favorites are Federalist Pig, Hill Country, Fat Pete’s and Hardy’s BBQ truck.

However, if Bryce Harper show he’s as invested in authentic Nationals fans as our season tickets are in him, he should really pick up a half-smoke, the district’s original recipe for a spicy, thicker pork and beef dog that’s aggressively seasoned and sometimes served with chili sauce.

Could you imagine Harper making his announcement to stay over a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl? I think even the panda statue would cry tears of joy.

Another hyper-local taste is mumbo sauce. While proven not originally from here, D.C. natives are enthusiastic about the special sauce. Yum’s is pretty well-known for carrying it.

Time for dessert! I think we can all agree that in the past 10 years, cupcakes have become iconic in the district with Georgetown Cupcakes, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles all having a home in Georgetown. To settle the debate, Baked & Wired is best. They are ranked #1 on Yelp if you don’t believe my own palette.

But what if it’s game night, you ask? D.C. has it’s hearty share of restaurants that are open even after extra innings. The Diner, Kramerbooks, Mandu, New Big Wong, Old Ebbitt Grill, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Amsterdam Falafelshop and Jumbo Slice are all here to keep you warm at night no matter what you’re craving post-victory. Need I go on?

Bryce reassured Nats fans and TMZ that he is “still a National right now.” Better eat these while you can, Bryce, or you’ll be sorry you didn't sign in one of the best food cities in the MLB.

Do you have any local food or restaurants you think will convince Bryce Harper to stay with the Washington Nationals this offseason? Send them to @NBCNationals or @rmhopmayer. Maybe we can throw together a friends-giving or holiday dinner for those that want him to stay our beloved Guest of Honor.

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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 

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