Redskins

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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Dwayne Haskins playing through pain Sunday gave Redskins fans flashbacks to RGIII

Dwayne Haskins playing through pain Sunday gave Redskins fans flashbacks to RGIII

During their Week 14 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Redskins rookie and potential franchise quarterback played much of the game through a considerable leg injury.

Stop me if you've heard this before.

In the second quarter of Sunday's loss, Dwayne Haskins sprained his ankle after being rolled up on by Packers pass rusher Preston Smith. Haskins has a noticeable limp for the rest of the game, was quite immobile in the pocket, and his throwing mechanics were clearly affected by the injury.

When asked postgame about the injury, both Haskins and interim head coach Bill Callahan insisted that there was never any consideration of removing the rookie signal-caller from the game, as long as he was medically cleared.

This sparked plenty of debate. There was the crowd that believes Haskins did the right thing by playing through pain, something that's inevitable in the violent game of football.

But there's also a large contingent of people that think it was absolute malpractice by not removing the expected future of the franchise from a game that was practically meaningless in terms of the final standings, risking further injury or another, more serious injury by continuing to play.

What they really mean is people who think the latter had flashbacks to 2012 with Robert Griffin III. Griffin led Washington to a 10-6 record in 2012, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year award honors. But that year's No. 2 overall pick injured his right knee against the Ravens late in the season and continued to play through serious pain in a hefty knee brace down the stretch.

The direction fo the franchise completely shifted during the Redskins wild card playoff loss to the Seahawks, where Griffin tore his ACL and MCL in his right knee. Now the Ravens backup QB, Griffin has yet to experience the same success he had in the NFL prior to his major injury.

On the Redskins Talk Podcast following Sunday's loss, JP Finlay, Mitch Tischler, and Pete Hailey discussed whether Callahan made the right move by leaving Haskins in the game.

Finlay and Hailey believe that Haskins probably should have been pulled.

"I was shocked we didn't see Case [Keenum] in the second half," Hailey said. "A sprained ankle on its own isn't that bad. But when it's a sprained ankle on your prized rookie quarterback, and he tells us afterward that it was affected his ability to escape and get away, that sprained ankle could have led to a much more serious injury."

"I think everyone felt for a period of time that it was irresponsible to have Haskins on the field," Finlay said. "He was taking shots, looked incredibly immobile. Early on in the third quarter when the kid can barely move, you got to take him off the field.

"You couldn't help but have RGIII on your mind," Finlay said.

Tischler thinks Callahan made the right call by leaving Haskins in the game.

"I don't know, I never had the feeling that it was irresponsible," he said. "I remember the RGIII days, and I remember feeling like it was irresponsible."

To listen to the full Redskins Talk podcast, click here.

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3 trade scenarios for the Nationals to acquire Kris Bryant

3 trade scenarios for the Nationals to acquire Kris Bryant

Less than 24 hours after signing Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year, $245 million deal, the Nationals have reportedly already pivoted to their other major position of need: third base.

Anthony Rendon is still a candidate to return to D.C. after Nationals President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo left the door open in a press conference Monday. But if the two-time Silver Slugger turns elsewhere, the Nationals are already exploring their options.

Bryant is a lifetime .284 hitter coming off a season in which he posted a .903 OPS and hit 31 home runs. The 2016 NL MVP is signed through the 2021 season but has filed a grievance against the Cubs for manipulating his service time. A decision isn’t expected until January, but Cubs President Theo Epstein told ESPN he’s confident the arbitrator will rule in Chicago’s favor.

The Cubs are exploring trade options in an effort to shed salary after Chicago finished with the third-highest payroll in the majors last season. Bryant, who can play both corner outfield spots as well, figures to net a strong return if the Cubs are able to trade him.

Washington doesn’t have the deepest farm system but could put together a few packages that might pique the Cubs’ interest depending on what path they’re hoping to go down. Here are three trade scenarios that could land Bryant in the District.

Cubs’ goal: Kickstart a rebuild

Nats’ offer: Carter Kieboom, Mason Denaburg, Tim Cate for Kris Bryant

When the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, it looked to be the start of a dynasty that would dominate the sport for at least the next half-decade while stars like Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks were under contract.

Instead, Chicago has taken a step back each year. After losing in the National League Championship Series in 2017, the Cubs were knocked out in the Wild Card Game the following season before missing the playoffs entirely in 2019. Epstein expressed frustration with the team’s results in a radio interview last season, saying the Cubs’ “failure to play up to our ability, up to our potential” was the biggest contributor to their inconsistent play.

If the front office is looking to begin a teardown, then the Nationals would have to dig deep in their farm system to put together a viable package.

Kieboom is the 20th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline and would be the centerpiece of negotiations. Denaburg was drafted in the first round in 2017 and considered several years away, but he’d immediately have one of the highest ceilings of any pitchers in the Cubs’ depleted minor-league system. Cate is much farther along than Denaburg and pitched well at High-A Potomac last season, plus he’s left-handed.

The Cubs wouldn’t have an immediate solution at third base, but if the goal is to net as much prospect capital as possible then this would be Washington’s best offer—that is, if Luis Garcia and Jackson Rutledge are untouchable.

Cubs’ goal: Build toward the future but remain competitive

Nats’ offer: Carter Kieboom, Joe Ross, Wil Crowe for Kris Bryant

All things considered, the Nationals probably won’t be in the running for Bryant if the Cubs are seeking solely prospects. Washington’s farm system isn’t much better off than Chicago’s and there are plenty of other contending clubs who could put together a better deal.

But if the Cubs are looking to fill a need while also dumping Bryant’s contract, the Nationals have plenty of back-end starters with some value. Joe Ross, Erick Fedde and Austin Voth are all out of options heading into 2020 and likely competing for the No. 5 spot in the Nationals’ rotation. Washington could make that decision easier by shipping one of them to the Cubs, a team that also has several question marks at the back of its rotation.

Washington could allow the Cubs to pick their favorite of Ross, Fedde and Voth then package their choice with Kieboom and a prospect like Wil Crowe or Sterling Shepherd. Crowe and Shepherd are both knocking on the door of the majors and could contribute either in the rotation or the bullpen as soon as next season.

The Cubs would then be able to slot Kieboom in at either second or third base with Javier Báez entrenched at shortstop. He’d then have David Bote, Ian Happ and possibly Ben Zobrist behind him in case he struggles to start the year.

Cubs’ goal: Cut salary but don’t lose any present value

Nats’ offer: Adam Eaton, Joe Ross, Jackson Rutledge for Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber

If the Nationals deem Kieboom untouchable, as they have in the past, then they’re going to need to get creative if they’re going to want Bryant.

One of the Cubs’ biggest weaknesses over the past few years has been at leadoff. Since Dexter Fowler departed for free agency after the 2016 season, 56 different players have batted first in the order for Chicago. Eaton would be the bonafide leadoff hitter they’ve been looking for and could slide in for Schwarber at left field.

Rutledge was the No. 17 overall pick in the 2019 draft and is considered to have potential ace upside down the line. If the Nats won’t trade Kieboom, he’s probably the guy they’d have to let go. Ross (or Voth or Fedde) slides into the No. 5 spot in the rotation for pennies compared to anyone on the open market.

Schwarber, while a better hitter than Eaton, is actually projected to make slightly less than him in 2020 at $8 million (compared to Eaton’s $9.5 million salary). But given Schwarber has two years of control, he would make more in arbitration in 2021 than Eaton’s $10.5 million team option.

All in all, the Cubs would save around $15 million in 2020 salary alone by making this deal while adding a pitching prospect who has the potential to be a top-flight starter, a leadoff man and a cheap starter who would be in the mix for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

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