Redskins

Bryans win record 13th Grand Slam doubles title

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Bryans win record 13th Grand Slam doubles title

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Mike and Bob Bryan have set one more record together as a doubles team - and this may be the most special of them all.

The identical twins became the most decorated doubles team in Grand Slam history by winning their 13th major title at the Australian Open on Saturday, beating the unseeded Dutch pair of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling 6-3, 6-4 in 53 minutes.

The 34-year-old Americans had been tied with the Australian greats John Newcombe and Tony Roche with 12 major titles.

``To be a part of history is pretty special,'' Mike Bryan said. ``We weren't thinking about it much out there, but now that we have it, it's going to be fun to look back on our career and say we have the most Grand Slams.''

After converting their third match point, the brothers jumped in the air and bumped chests and then clapped their hands on their rackets to the several hundred fans who stayed in Rod Laver Arena after the women's singles final.

They were so excited about the historic win, they gave high-fives to some fans after the match, including one man wearing a Los Angeles Lakers jersey who had covered the letter T in Kobe Bryant's last name so it read ``Bryan.''

Sijsling joked during the trophy presentation that he had lost count of how many titles the brothers had won.

``It's probably 15,'' he said. ``What is it?''

Haase then remarked, ``I still don't know who's who.''

The Bryans have won each major tournament at least once, but they play their best tennis Down Under - they now have six Australian Open titles to go along with four at the U.S. Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the French.

``I think we're so successful at this tournament because we spent the offseason mainly in the same spot working toward the new year,'' Mike Bryan said. ``We come into these tournaments with momentum.''

The list of the brothers' accomplishments and records keeps growing. They've been ranked No. 1 in doubles for eight of the past 10 years. They've won at least one Grand Slam title for a record nine consecutive years. They've won a record 84 titles together overall.

Last year, they captured a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics - one of the only major awards they had yet to win.

Having achieved so much, they were asked how they maintain their enthusiasm to keep playing a full tournament schedule. Last year, they played 73 matches together.

``As far as records, there's not much'' left to achieve, Bob Bryan said. ``But like we've told you before, we're competitors. We hate to lose. We want to finish No. 1.''

His brother said keeping up their energy levels is the only tough part.

``A lot of sugar before the matches,'' he said.

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Comparing the 2015 playoff Redskins to this year's team

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USA Today Sports Images

Comparing the 2015 playoff Redskins to this year's team

We don’t know if there will be major changes on the Redskins if they don’t make the playoffs this year but getting into the postseason and getting a win when they get there would make a decision to keep going in this direction very easy.

Yes, a lot of the pressure lies on the shoulders of Jay Gruden but winning games usually comes down to the players on the field. How do the players the Redskins have today compare to those on the last team that made the playoffs?

Here are the players who started in the last playoff game that involved the Redskins, a 35-20 Wild Card round home loss to the Packers, side-by-side with the anticipated starting lineup for the 2018 season with some unscientific comparison of the quality of the two teams.

Offensive line

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
LT—Trent Williams, Williams
LG—Spencer Long, Shawn Lauvao
C—Kory Lichtensteiger, Chase Roullier
RG—Brandon Scherff, Scherff
RT—Morgan Moses, Moses

How do the 2018 versions of Williams, Moses, and Scherff compare to the ones who started the playoff game? They’ll be about three years older but they have gained valuable experience. Remember that Lichtensteiger was activated off of injured reserve the week before the playoff game after missing 11 games with a neck injury so he was not close to 100 percent against the Packers. Josh LeRibeus was center for most of the year. Roullier is at least a good as he was. Long is no All-Pro but he is better than Lauvao. Comparison: Even

Offensive backs and receivers

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
QB—Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith
RB—Alfred Morris, Derrius Guice
WR—Jamison Crowder, Crowder
WR—Pierre Garçon, Josh Doctson
WR—DeSean Jackson, Paul Richardson
TE—Jordan Reed, Jordan Reed

We can debate Smith vs. Cousins all day but we really won’t know until they start playing games. Guice has the potential to be better than the 2015 version of Morris, who averaged 3.7 yards per carry while gaining 751 yards. Reed has his best season in 2015 with 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was arguably the best tight end in the game in 2015. Reed has to demonstrate that he can be that guy again. Crowder will be better than he was as a rookie but there are clear downgrades at the wide receiver positions. Comparison: Edge to 2015

Defensive front

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
DE—Chris Baker, Matt Ioannidis
NT—Terrance Knighton, Daron Payne
DE—Jason Hatcher, Jonathan Allen
ILB—Mason Foster, Foster
ILB—Will Compton, Zach Brown
OLB—Ryan Kerrigan, Kerrigan
OLB—Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

I don’t think we need to go into much discussion here to sort out which team has the better front seven. The interior line plus Brown makes this year’s front clearly superior. Comparison: Solid edge to 2018

Secondary

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
CB—Will Blackmon, Josh Norman
CB—Bashaud Breeland, Quinton Dunbar
SS—DeAngelo Hall, Montae Nicholson
FS—Dashon Goldson, D.J. Swearinger

Breeland was very good in 2015, tallying two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and two recoveries. Dunbar could be a downgrade but I don’t think he’ll be a significant one. This year’s team is clearly better off at the other three positions. Comparison: Solid edge to 2018

If defense wins championships then you have to give the overall edge to this year’s team. But the offense will be important and Smith, Guice, and the wide receivers will need to come through if the Redskins are going to play a game in January of 2019.

More 2018 Redskins

- The secondary: What's the outlook in the secondary?
- Tandler’s Take: The pressure's on Gruden and he knows it

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.

 

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Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

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Associated Press

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons.

Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. 

Lowe spent two seasons under head coach Scott Brooks in Washington. A D.C. native, Lowe starred at DeMatha High School before playing at NC State and then in the NBA.

Lowe was the head coach at his alma mater for five years from 2006 through 2011, but has otherwise been an NBA lifer. He served as head coach of the Timberwolves in 1993-94 and head coach of the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2002.

The Wizards have several coaching hires to make now. They have a new G-League team set to take the court in the fall and will need to hire a staff sometime this summer. 

With Lowe gone, they could choose to promote from within or go outside the organization.

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