Redskins

Colts hoping to turn things around at Tennessee

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Colts hoping to turn things around at Tennessee

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andrew Luck has no problem doing his homework.

He'd just like to pack up the lessons, put them in a suitcase and pull them out whenever the Colts hit the road.

``I wish I had all the answers,'' the Colts quarterback said Wednesday. ``I think we just need a little more focus, we need to substitute that energy we get from the home crowd and take that on the road.''

Make no mistake, Indianapolis has already exceeded most preseason expectations.

Only three AFC teams - division leaders Houston, Baltimore and New England - have more wins than the Colts (3-3), and Indy has already surpassed its entire victory total from last season. Luck has matched his predecessor, Peyton Manning, victory for victory including wins over surprising Minnesota and Super Bowl contender Green Bay.

It's been good enough to hear words such as ``playoffs'' and phrases such as ``in the hunt'' emanating from this increasingly confident locker room.

But to continue on this course, the Colts know they need to get better outside their home venue, a quest that continues Sunday at Tennessee (3-4).

``We have to find ways to overcome adversity on the field. It's easy to win at home, it's tough to win on the road,'' defensive end Cory Redding said. ``If you don't win on the road, you don't get into the playoffs, period.''

The disparity in Indy's home-road splits has been glaring.

At home, Luck has won three times, led two winning drives, escaped pressure, made accurate throws on the run and been a steadying influence in the huddle and in the pocket.

On the road, he's thrown five interceptions and two fumbles in two blowout losses.

Four turnovers against Chicago led to a 41-21 defeat, and after three solid showings at home, the Colts helped the struggling Jets get well at East Rutherford, N.J., two weeks ago. New York jumped to a 21-6 halftime lead and pulled away for a 35-9 victory, running for 252 yards.

It's all part of the learning process.

``When you're on the road, OK is not good enough,'' Pro Bowler Dwight Freeney said. ``I think when you're home and you have the home-field advantage, sometimes things bounce your way. On the road, you need something extra. We've talked about it; it's something we need to clean up.''

Indy's road woes go far deeper than the obvious numbers: the 0-2 record with an average margin of defeat of 23.0.

In Indy, Luck is 89 of 165 (55.6 percent) for 1,085 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. In the two road games, he has completed 50.6 percent of his passes, thrown for 589 yards with one touchdown, five interceptions and two lost fumbles.

He's not alone.

Though the Colts are minus-9 in turnover margin, they are just minus-1 at home, and while the defense allowed the Bears and Jets to run for 183 yards per game, opponents have averaged just 119 yards rushing in the four home games.

The explanations vary.

Some of the disparity could certainly be blamed on the massive rebuilding project. Indianapolis opened this season as the NFL's ninth-youngest team, with entirely new offensive and defensive systems and as one of five teams using a rookie quarterback.

Those inside the locker room simply won't accept the excuses.

``You've got to do more than your job,'' interim coach and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. ``If both teams just do their job, the home team wins. We've got to create some turnovers, we've got to protect the football and we've got to get some big (kick) returns. It's a good challenge, but we've got to get that done. We've got to make something happen.''

Or perhaps they've just been up against overpowering defenses.

Chicago and the Jets have traditionally been two of the league's best and are more than capable of confusing young quarterbacks, even one as well-schooled as Luck.

``It's hard, especially when you're going against two premier defenses liked we did in Chicago and New York,'' Arians explained. ``This one (Tennessee) is another challenge, but this one is not going to be as difficult, I don't think, because we've been there (on the road) and we've got to be better at it.''

But Luck and his teammates understand the point Arians and others are trying to make: If they want to stay in contention for a playoff spot, they fix their road woes now.

``It's nearly impossible to win when you're minus-7 or whatever (in turnovers) on the road,'' Luck said. ``It all goes into the theme of being a little more focused, a little more attention to detail. If we want to be a good football team, we've got to win on the road.''

NOTES: Rookie defensive tackle Josh Chapman started practicing Wednesday, but remains on Indy's reserve-non-football injury list. ... The Colts have signed outside linebacker Monte Simmons to the practice squad. ... Running back Donald Brown and outside linebacker Robert Mathis were expected to participate in Wednesday's practice. Each has missed the last two games with knee injuries.

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After viral 2018 scuffle, Taylor Lewan offers to make peace with Josh Norman

After viral 2018 scuffle, Taylor Lewan offers to make peace with Josh Norman

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and Titans tackle Taylor Lewan got into a widely-discussed altercation after Washington's Week 16 loss to Tennesse last season.

But on Thursday, Lewan said he's finally ready to let bygones be bygones. 

Lewan tweeted he wants Norman to come on the "Bussin' With The Boys" podcast he co-hosts with former Redskins linebacker Will Compton to "settle our differences."

Judging by what happened last December, there are plenty of differences: Norman threw his helmet at Lewan after the latter approached him, Lewan later accusing Norman of trying to hurt Titans running back Derrick Henry.

"I'm not worried about Josh Norman, man," Lewan told reporters after the incident. "I'm an offensive lineman, he's a [defensive back]. I don't know who that is."

"I was pissed. He was trying to hurt Derrick [Henry]. That's BS. That’s not the way football’s supposed to be played, man. It’s not our fault you’re not relevant anymore."

"Why would you come to another man's sideline?" Norman said of the dust-up. "And then after you won a game, you pick fun at the player that is relevant. You go out of your way to come to his bench, his sideline, to go at him in that kind of way."

"We're not having it. We will not tolerate disrespect. That's zero tolerance for that. That was the ultimate disrespect. You just don't do that."

The incident happened months ago, so it's about time the pair made peace. And as an ex-Redskin and ex-Titan, perhaps Compton can help mend the fences. But if Norman does accept Lewan's invitation to come on the podcast, we might be in for even more verbal fireworks. 

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Keldon Johnson

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Keldon Johnson

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Keldon Johnson

School: Kentucky
Position: Guard
Age: 19 (turns 21 in October)
Height: 6-6
Weight: 216
Wingspan: 6-9
Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 13.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.2 bpg, 46.1 FG% (4.6/10.1), 38.1 3PT% (1.2/3.2), 70.3 FT%

Player comparison: Gary Harris, Jerome Robinson

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 19th, NBADraft.net 15th, Bleacher Report 8th, Sports Illustrated 23rd, Ringer 21st

5 things to know:

*Johnson is considered the best NBA prospect in this year's class from the University of Kentucky. Though the Wildcats usually churn out top-10 picks, he is projected to go somewhere in the back end of the lottery or in the 20s. His teammates Tyler Herro and P.J. Washington are expected to go late in the first round.

*Johnson is an athletic, slashing wing who is quick up and down the floor. His highlights are filled with fastbreak dunks and agile plays around the basket. Johnson, though, didn't participate in the vertical leap measurement at the combine, so there is some mystery there.

*He has a solid outside shot. Johnson made 38.2 percent of his threes on 3.2 attempts per game, which is impressive especially for a freshman. He appears to have smooth mechanics on his jumper and a quick release. Johnson, though, like most young players has to develop his ability to shoot off the dribble.

*Johnson plays with a lot of passion and is known for wearing his emotions on his sleeve. He brings tons of energy to both ends of the floor and that is a good sign for his potential at the next level.

*Johnson has a few local connections. He is from Chesterfield, VA, just south of Richmond. He went to high school at Oak Hill Academy in southwestern Virginia. His brother, Kaleb, plays basketball for Georgetown University. And his other brother, Kyle, played at Old Dominion.

Fit with Wizards: Johnson happens to play the one position the Wizards have solidified, at least in their starting lineup with Bradley Beal. However, they could use more guard depth in general and Beal needs some help behind him.

The Wizards thought they had solved that with Austin Rivers this past season and that didn't work out. The result was Beal leading the NBA in minutes played in the second straight year he appeared in all 82 games.

Iron Man streaks are great, but not ideal for a guy who has a history of leg injuries and a long career ahead of him. Johnson is the type of player who could take some pressure off of Beal and possibly play with him at the three-spot. He would also add shooting, which the Wizards need.

The question would be if he is good enough to pick ninth overall and if that need is enough to justify at that spot. The answer is probably not, but Johnson seems like a guy who could soar up draft boards once workouts begin.

Best highlight video:

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