Redskins

Browns win for new owner, edge Chargers 7-6

Browns win for new owner, edge Chargers 7-6

CLEVELAND (AP) Catching a short pass from coach Pat Shurmur, new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam tucked away the game ball, a reward for his first win.

Haslam beamed and everyone in Cleveland's locker room, including legendary running back Jim Brown, basked in the glow of victory.

On a gray, stormy Sunday, this was a bright new beginning. For a change, this was a step forward for the Browns.

Rookie Trent Richardson rushed for a season-high 122 yards and a touchdown, Cleveland's defense kept San Diego out of the end zone and the Browns benefited from a big drop in a 7-6 win, Haslam's first since buying the club for $1.05 billion.

``It feels good,'' Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said of satisfying Haslam. ``You always want to put a smile on his face.''

Richardson did just that with a performance that even had the tough-to-please Brown swelling with pride. When the Browns drafted Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick in April's draft, Brown had labeled the former Alabama star as ``ordinary.''

But after seeing Richardson, who still hasn't fully recovered from a rib cartilage injury, overpower the Chargers, Brown had nothing but compliments for a player who wants to break all his records in Cleveland.

``That's my partner, man,'' Brown said. ``He's done everything I thought he should do. He never took anything I said the wrong way. He's interested in his family. He's interested in this team. And he's willing to make sacrifices because really, he's hurt more than you think he is right now.''

With winds gusting to 40 mph making every pass an adventure, the Browns (2-6) turned their offense over to Richardson, who gained just 8 yards on eight carries last week at Indianapolis before Shurmur benched him for being ineffective.

But against a San Diego defense that came in allowing just 71.2 yards per game - second-best in the NFL - Richardson rumbled. He broke several tackles on a 26-yard TD run that opened the scoring and gave the Browns all the points they'd need against the Chargers (3-4), who dropped their third straight game.

``Great running backs break tackles,'' Brown said. ``You do that, you are in control. You keep the ball. The other team is disheartened. That's football.''

And that's why the Browns chose Richardson.

Two plays after quarterback Brandon Weeden picked up a first down on a fourth-and-1 sneak to keep Cleveland's opening drive alive, Richardson took a handoff up the middle, broke two tackles and was kept upright by right guard Shawn Lauvao, who wrapped his hands around his teammate, and shoved him toward the goal line.

Richardson said once he was deep in San Diego's secondary there was no stopping him.

``They don't want no problems,'' said Richardson, who also picked up a critical first down in the fourth quarter with a 12-yard reception.

Weeden finished 11 of 27 for 129 yards, and afterward the former minor league pitcher joked that the score reminded him of some days on the mound.

``I haven't had a game like that since `06 when I played with the Royals,'' he cracked. ``I've never been a part of a football game like that. But as long as I'm on the good end of it, that's all that matters.''

San Diego's offense sputtered for most of the game, but the Chargers had a final chance in the final two minutes. However, quarterback Philip Rivers' pass was batted away by Browns cornerback Buster Skrine with 1:24 left. Rivers finished 18 of 34 for 154 yards, but had a potential touchdown pass dropped by Robert Meachem in the third quarter.

``It could have been a big play,'' Rivers said. ``There were a lot of chances, not just that one.''

With the Chargers trailing 7-3, Meachem dropped what would have been a 51-yard TD pass. On third-and-9, Meachem slipped behind Cleveland's defensive backs and was wide open at about the 25-yard line as he awaited Rivers' throw.

But when the ball arrived, Meachem let it slip through his hands.

``I took my eyes off of it,'' Meachem said. ``I thought about scoring first before I caught the ball. Big play in the game. Big-time players make big-time plays, and that's a play you have to make in a game like this. It could have been the momentum changer. You never know.''

Just a week ago, the Browns had a similar miscue when rookie Josh Gordon dropped a potential TD pass at the goal line. TV cameras caught Haslam's emotional reaction, swiping the air with his hand in frustration. There would be none of that on this day as the Browns capped a trying week off the field.

On Thursday, incoming CEO Joe Banner missed his first day with the Browns to be with his father, who died the following day in Boston. Also, Bryan Wiedmeier, the team's executive vice president of business affairs was rushed to the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday after feeling disoriented and had surgery to have a brain tumor removed.

Wiedmeier is recovering at home and Shurmur intends to present him with a game ball.

As Shurmur wrapped up his postgame remarks to the Browns, he was about to tell the players they would be off until Wednesday when he was interrupted.

``They all said, `Nope coach, we'll see you tomorrow,''' Shurmur said. ``They want to work. That's an impressive thing for our team.''

And just maybe the start of something new.

NOTES: Nick Novak kicked field goals of 43 and 31 yards for San Diego. ...Richardson has five rushing TDs, most by a Browns rookie since William Green had six in 2002. ... The Chargers have gone six quarters without a TD. ... Chargers KR Richard Goodman injured his hamstring returning the opening kickoff and did not return. ... Browns DE Emmanuel Stephens sustained a neck injury in the first half and sat the rest of the game. ... Rivers made his 103rd consecutive start, second to only Eli Manning (127) among all active QBs. ... Jackson was credited with 14 tackles.

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The 2005 draft link that bonds the Redskins and Packers ahead of Week 3

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AP

The 2005 draft link that bonds the Redskins and Packers ahead of Week 3

Looking back at NFL Drafts can be a frustrating task for Redskins fans. Missed opportunities and botched picks litter the record books, though the organization has made plenty of good picks, too. 

This weekend marks an interesting intersection of past drafts and current reality when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers come to visit the Redskins and Alex Smith.

Way back, in the 2005 NFL Draft, the 49ers selected Smith with the No. 1 overall pick. He was a major prospect and the consensus top pick in the draft coming out of an outrageous year playing under Urban Meyer at the University of Utah. 

Later that same draft, all the way down to the 24th pick, Green Bay took Aaron Rodgers out of the University of California Berkeley. At the time, the selection turned heads, as the Packers had future Hall of Famer Brett Favre at QB. 

The Rodgers pick turned out to be pretty smart, to say the least. Smith’s tenure in San Francisco had high points, but nothing that lived up to his lofty draft position. 

Rodgers and Smith have talked about being from the same draft class, and the two have developed a friendship off the field. 

“You know, he's a decent player,” Smith joked about Rodgers on Wednesday. 

“He and I [have] been around each other a lot of time now, always linked, pretty good buddies. Certainly, kind of I think follow each other's career from afar.”

Fair or not, Smith and Rodgers have been linked ever since that 2005 draft. Those weren’t the only two QBs taken that year though. 

The Redskins selected Jason Campbell out of Auburn with the 25th pick. If Rodgers had slipped just one more spot, maybe the Redskins take Rodgers instead.

Just to make one more connection, albeit an odd one, but Rodgers wasn’t even the only guy with that last name taken in 2005.

The Redskins selected cornerback Carlos Rogers with the ninth overall pick. Imagine if they took the QB with the slightly different last name. 

 

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Wizards' 2018-19 storyline No. 4: How will all the expiring contracts work out?

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USA Today

Wizards' 2018-19 storyline No. 4: How will all the expiring contracts work out?

With Wizards training camp set to begin next week, we at NBC Sports Washington are counting down the five biggest storylines for the team as they start a new season. Today, at No. 4, a look at the amount of expiring contracts on the roster and how those situations will work themselves out…

One way or another, what happens for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season will be determined in part by seven players operating in the final years of their contracts. That seven does not include Dwight Howard, who has a player option for the 2019-20 season worth just $5.6 million. If he’s lumped into that group, only the L.A. Clippers have more players entering walk years.

The Wizards players in their contract years include Markieff Morris, Kelly Oubre, Jr., Austin Rivers, Tomas Satoransky, Jeff Green, Jodie Meeks and Jason Smith. That will present a unique dynamic to the Wizards’ roster and it may affect guys differently.

Some may thrive, knowing how much money they stand to gain with a big year before free agency. Others may succumb to the pressure as they find their niche on a team with a lot of added depth at several positions.

Let’s start with Rivers. The challenge for him will be going through his contract year while taking a reduced role from what he was used to with the Clippers. Last season, he started in 59 games and averaged 33.7 minutes and 13.2 field goal attempts.

Now in Washington, Rivers has to play second fiddle to two All-Star guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal. The minutes and shot attempts will almost certainly go down in a year where he would understandably want all of his numbers to go up.

Green may also have a smaller role than what he was in Cleveland where he started 13 games and averaged 23.4 minutes. But this is his fourth straight year playing on an expiring contract and knows what he’s getting into. He should be fine.

Meeks and Smith are in an interesting spot because they are longtime NBA veterans who don’t have defined roles entering this season. They, of course, would like to put up good enough numbers to earn their next NBA contracts, but will have a tough time getting minutes.

Oubre and Satoransky are in unique spots because this is the first time in their careers they have played in contract years. Oubre, in particular, has a lot of money on the line as a former first round pick who is just 22 years old.

A big year for him could mean a lucrative contract next summer. He has seen how breakout seasons in walk years has helped Beal and Otto Porter, Jr. get paid and surely wants to follow that same career path. The Wizards would certainly welcome that type of emergence from Oubre, as he could drastically transform their ceiling as a team.

Satoransky, 26, is older than Oubre, but has intriguing potential based on his athleticism and versatility. The problem, however, is that recent history shows his minutes are anything but guaranteed.

Morris is in his own category among the Wizards’ expiring contracts because he’s 29 and probably facing his best opportunity for a long-term payday. Morris also has some money to recoup from taking a hometown discount from the Suns years ago, one that didn’t pay off as he hoped.

Howard, though technically under contract for 2019-20, is susceptible to the same factors as the others on expiring deals. If he puts up strong numbers and helps the Wizards succeed, he could opt out and cash in.

The Wizards are confident the expiring contracts will not be a detriment to their locker room. But in order for that to be the case, the players will need to compartmentalize and focus on the team’s goals rather than their own. For some, that might be easier said than done.

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