Nationals

Carroll and Bush meet again as Seattle faces Miami

Carroll and Bush meet again as Seattle faces Miami

RENTON, Wash. (AP) When Reggie Bush got his chance to face Pete Carroll in the NFC playoffs two seasons ago, he couldn't wait. It was the opportunity to show off before his former college coach when injuries in the New Orleans backfield left Bush as the featured back.

Then Bush carried the ball just five times and was left watching Carroll celebrate the Seahawks' upset victory of the then-defending Super Bowl champs.

Sunday will be Bush's first chance at getting even when Miami hosts Carroll's Seahawks.

``We had a lot of games together and played a lot of football. It's always great to go against our old guys, and nothing different than this one,'' Carroll said. ``We'll try and tackle the heck out of him if we can corral him, but he is a very special football player and it still shows.''

Bush and Carroll will always be linked for their time at USC when the Trojans were the most dominant team in college football. Bush was the speeding blur that couldn't be stopped and Carroll the buzzing leader on the sideline.

They'll also be forever linked by the subsequent NCAA probe into improper gifts Bush's family received during his time playing at USC, and the eventual decision Bush made to return his 2005 Heisman Trophy.

Since Carroll returned to the NFL before the start of the 2010 season, the contact between the two has been limited. The Seahawks played New Orleans twice during the 2010 season - Bush missed the regular-season game - and this will be the first time the pair will face off since that playoff game best remembered for the running of Seattle's Marshawn Lynch and not anything Bush did.

``I'm looking for getting a win. That's what I'm looking forward to,'' Bush said. I'm not so much worried about who's on the other side of the field.''

Bush is being used in a far different manner than the last time Carroll schemed against his former star. When the Seahawks prepared to face the Saints in the playoffs, they saw formations specifically designed to get Bush available in open space, trying to get him in as many one-on-one situations with linebackers and safeties as possible.

With the Dolphins, Bush has been the featured back, being asked to use his speed on the perimeter but also to run between the tackles. Bush's season started strongly, but in the last three weeks he has a combined 24 carries for 82 yards during the Dolphins' three-game losing streak.

``Everybody is staying upbeat. Guys know we still have a lot of football to play and we're not out of this thing yet,'' Bush said. ``I haven't seen anybody falling off the map. Everybody has been pretty upbeat.''

Carroll believes Bush has matured as a runner, no longer just rushing as fast as he can to the line of scrimmage, but displaying more patience for running lanes to open up.

``Reggie has really found his tempo coming to the line of scrimmage and seeing things and using his quickness and darting and using his quickness into open spaces. He looks like a more mature runner now,'' Carroll said. ``He used to run it up in there as fast as he could and hit it hard and it wasn't to his advantage all the time in his career, but he's really on it now.''

This might not be the best week for Bush and the Dolphins' struggling run game to try and get restarted. Seattle is third in the NFL in total defense and 10th in run defense, giving up just 100.6 yards per game on the ground. Only San Francisco, with Frank Gore, and Minnesota, with Adrian Peterson, have been able to top 100 yards rushing as a team against the Seahawks this season.

And Seattle will have back versatile outside linebacker K.J. Wright after he missed most of the last two games with a concussion.

``Defensively they bring a lot of pressure and exotic fronts and create turnovers, and making plays when they have to, and winning games when they have to,'' Bush said. ``That's kind of coach Carroll's signature.''

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AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Davie, Fla., contributed to this story.

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Strasburg, Scherzer get in heated conversation after ugly inning

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Strasburg, Scherzer get in heated conversation after ugly inning

The Washington Nationals have had a less than ideal season thus far.

The reigning N.L. East champs entered the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of first place, have a new manager that has gotten his fair share of criticism, are riddled with injuries contributing to a lengthy disabled list and seem to be frustrated to no end on the baseball field.

In his first game back following a right shoulder injury that landed him on the DL for over a month, Stephen Strasburg started Friday night's game in Washington against the Braves, one of tewo teams above the Nats in the East standings.

Following a poor outing in the fifth inning in which Davey Martinez decided to pull Strasburg, fellow ace Max Scherzer attempted to greet the starter. Strasburg brushed Scherzer off as he sat down on the bench and the two got into what seemed like a very heated exchange.

The Nationals never recovered from Strasburg's start and fell to the Braves 8-5 in Washington.

The frustration was evident as Martinez met with Scherzer and Strasburg to hash out the argument, delaying postgame clubhouse access to the media while their meeting was going on.

The meeting was kept under lock by Martinez, Scherzer, and Strasburg, who chalked it up to just being a part of the "family."

According to Martinez, the dugout conversation was hashed out and he immediately brushed it off when pressed for questions.

The Nationals look to even up the series against The Braves in Washington tonight.

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10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No rookie draft pick excited the Redskins fan base like Derrius Guice since Robert Griffin III came to Washington back in 2012. That's a fact. 

Guice slipped during the draft to near the end of the second round, a position much too late for a player with his talent. Rumors emerged that he had character issues, but in the months since April's selection, they seem unfounded. In quick time, Guice has emerged as a Redskins fan favorite and has performed plenty of charitable acts.

So, moving past the erroneous off-field questions, it's time to manage expectations for what Guice can do on the field. 

DJ Swearinger recently said he expects Guice to make the Pro Bowl and rush for more than 1,000 yards. As a rookie. (Listen here)

That's not unheard of, last year rookie Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rush yards. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott did the same thing. Rookie running backs can step in and produce right away in the NFL, unlike some positions that usually bring more of a learning curve. 

Can Guice do that?

The first and most important questions will be health and durability. Guice dealt with lingering knee injuries last year at LSU, and the Redskins will need him fully healthy. A 1,000-yard season is not unrealistic if Guice plays a full 16-game season. It would require rushing for about 65 yards-per-game. 

The bigger key is opportunities. 

How many carries will Guice log in 2018? Early on in the season, Guice might still be learning pass protection in the Redskins scheme, and Jay Gruden will not tolerate missed assignments that result in big hits on QB Alex Smith.

If Guice can lock in on blitz pickup, 200 carries seems reasonable. Remember that Chris Thompson will still be a featured part of the Redskins offense, and Rob Kelley will get chances too. 

Last season, Samaje Perine led all rushers with 175 carries. He didn't do much with the chances, averaging just 3.4 yards-per-carry. Kelley had 62 carries before injuries shut his season down after parts of seven games. 

Combine Perine and Kelley's carries, and then things start to get interesting. With 230 carries, at an average of 4 yards a pop, Guice starts to approach 1,000 yards.

One problem with extrapolating too much data from last season is the crazy amount of variables. Late in the year, with Perine largely ineffective and a very beat up offensive line, the Redskins simply couldn't produce on the ground. In their last five games of 2017, the Redskins never rushed for more than 100 yards. They averaged just 60 yards-per-game on the ground during that stretch, including a season low 31 rush yards against Arizona in December. 

The line can't be that beat up again, right?

Guice has to be able to deliver more than Perine, right?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then a 1,000-yard season seems possible for Guice in 2018. 

One misnomer from the Redskins 2017 campaign emerged that Washington simply did not run the ball well or enough. In fact, early in the year when the Redskins looked like a possible playoff team, they ran the ball quite well. In three of the first four games, Washington went over 100 yards on the ground, including 229 rush yards in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Guice might get to 1,000 yards in 2018. It's no sure thing, and there are plenty of variables, but it's possible. That hasn't happened in Washington since Alfred Morris, and would be a very welcome sight. 

The rookie runner has invigorated the Redskins faithful, and that's before he even steps on the field. If Guice can produce, the fans will go crazy.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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