Redskins

Chizik: Has received '100s' of supportive emails

201211102207796716022-p2.jpeg

Chizik: Has received '100s' of supportive emails

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn coach Gene Chizik said he understands the anger of fans over this season, but has also heard from some who are more supportive.

Chizik said Tuesday that he thinks both perspectives are fair given that the Tigers have fallen to 2-8 and have only one more chance to avoid a winless Southeastern Conference season - a visit to No. 4 Alabama following Saturday's game against FCS Alabama A&M.

``Fans are exactly what they are, they are fanatical,'' Chizik said. ``And I think that's a good thing. I don't think you can throw an umbrella over every fan, and not just at Auburn but anywhere and say, `This is the way they all are.' I've got hundreds of emails from a lot of great fans who are very supportive and understand that when you go through struggles, you continue on the path and you don't deviate off the path in terms of being who you are and pressing through those things.

``Then you have the other fans who are caught up in the winning and losing so much it's hard for them to see it that way. You know what? Both of those are fair. It depends on who you are. It depends on how you see things from a general perspective.''

Chizik said Sunday he feels confident he can turn this program around. It remains to be seen if he'll get that chance.

Auburn President Jay Gogue issued a statement on Oct. 25 saying he shares fans' concerns about the football program and that it will be evaluated after the season.

The Tigers are coming off a 38-0 loss to No. 5 Georgia and also fell 63-21 to No. 9 Texas A&M two weeks ago, prompting thousands of fans to leave both games early. The only home sellout was a 12-10 loss to No. 8 LSU.

All that has put plenty of heat from fans on Chizik, who said criticism is part of the job.

``When you get into this business as a player or a coach, if that hurts your feelings and you can't handle that, then you shouldn't be a player or a coach because that's what comes with the territory,'' he said. ``It's very simple - it's all about winning and losing. There are a lot of other things out there that really, really matter, but at the end of the day a lot of people see wins and losses.''

Chizik said the 13 seniors who will be recognized before their final home game against Alabama A&M deserve ``an outstanding'' reception from fans.

That group includes leading tackler linebacker Daren Bates and top receiver Emory Blake, along with tailback Onterio McCalebb and injured tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen. They played on two 8-5 teams and for the 2010 national champions before this season's slide.

``After this last game, after we play Alabama, I believe I'm going to be able to forget about this year and move on,'' McCalebb said. ``I have to move on with my life. I'll be a man and I'll be out there in the real world doing the things I want to do.

"I definitely didn't want to have a season like this, but you win some and you lose some. Ten years from now, I'm going to look back and say something a lot of people can't say: I won a national championship.''

Quick Links

10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

scherffvideo102918.jpg
USA Today Sports

10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

anibal_sanchez_nationals_pitching_usat.jpg
USA Today

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

ATLANTA—Anibal Sanchez outpitched Mike Soroka and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, Matt Adams homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Saturday night.

Second-place Washington pulled within 5 games of the NL East-leading Braves, improving to 33-14 since May 24, best in the majors over that span. Atlanta has dropped four of five.

Sanchez (6-6) got a big assist in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Trea Turner turned a bases-loaded double play, leaping to nab Nick Markakis' liner and throwing to first to beat Josh Donaldson back to the bag.

Soroka (10-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He had won 10 straight decisions, best by an Atlanta pitcher since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux had a 10-decision streak in 2001.

Sean Doolittle got the last five outs, facing the minimum, for his 21st save in 25 chances. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner at second to end the eighth and breezed through the ninth.

Washington went up 4-1 in the fifth when Sanchez reached on an infield single to third, took second on Donaldson's throwing error and scored on Turner's double. Turner took third on Adam Eaton's single and scored on Anthony Rendon's single. Eaton scored on Juan Soto's single.

The Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the eighth off A.J. Minter as Turner singled, stole second and scored on Eaton's single.

Adams went deep for the 15th time, an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and into the stands to tie it at 1-all in the fourth.

Sanchez, who pitched for the Braves last year and helped them win the division, allowed three runs and six hits and has a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the first when Acuna reached on an infield single, stole second base, advanced on a flyout and scored on Freddie Freeman's single.

Brian McCann's ninth homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, chased Sanchez and cut the lead to 4-3.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

 

NBC Sports Washington's Michael Stearman contributed to this Associated Press story.