Redskins

Commander-in-Chief's Trophy in Navy's sights

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Commander-in-Chief's Trophy in Navy's sights

By Arnie Stapleton AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) -- Another wild overtime finish in the Navy-Air Force rivalry. Only, this time, the Midshipmen came out on top in their quest to regain the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Navy beat Air Force 28-21 on Saturday when right guard Jake Zuzek recovered freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds' fumbled snap in the end zone. "I had no clue he had fumbled the ball," Zuzek said. "I just saw it when I was on the bottom of the pile. I wasn't letting it go for anything." After the weird touchdown, defensive end Wes Henderson knocked down Connor Dietz's pass on fourth-and-6 from the 21 to seal Navy's win, a significant first step in the Midshipmen's quest to regain the trophy that represents superiority among the three service academies. "Last year was so painful to see the seniors go out like that. To win like this is really indescribable," Henderson said. "It's probably one of the best feelings I've ever had in my life." Last year's game also went to overtime in Annapolis, Md., with Air Force prevailing 35-34 thanks to a controversial call. Officials ruled a touchdown celebration by Navy went overboard, and penalized the Midshipmen for unsportsmanlike conduct. The long conversion attempt from 35 yards was blocked by Alex Means. Then, the Falcons scored, and Parker Herrington added the conversion to give Air Force the wild win. Herrington had the chance to win it again this time, but his 51-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left as time expired in regulation. It was his second miss of the afternoon and fifth in six tries this season for the senior. After starting the season with blowout losses to Notre Dame and Penn State and then getting shut out by San Jose State at home last week, Navy (2-3) needs only to beat Army on Dec. 8 to regain the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy that the Falcons (2-3) have had in their possession the last two years. Dietz said he was confident the Falcons would match Navy's touchdown in overtime because "we had only stopped ourselves the whole game." They had lost fumbles on three straight drives and blew a late eight-point lead in the second half with Navy's starting quarterback sidelined with an ankle injury. "This game never should have been this close," Means said. "It's football, you never know," Dietz said. "Obviously, I think we missed a lot of opportunities, I'll say that. But, you have to give them credit. You let somebody hang around, it never ends up good." Cody Getz rushed for 204 yards and a score, becoming the first Air Force player to post three 200-yard games in one season. He is the second Mountain West Conference running back to do that, joining San Diego State's Larry Ned (2001). It wasn't enough to keep the Midshipmen from celebrating wildly on Air Force's field -- and in the coaches' box adjacent to the press box, where some salty language reverberated loudly after Henderson's pass deflection sealed Navy's wild win. "Things have looked bleak, not just in this game, but in this year," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "But our guys just continue to fight. "Last year, I thought our loss kind of put us in a tailspin. I'm hoping this is the reverse. I'm hoping this game will propel us to some good things the rest of the year." The 9:40 a.m. kickoff was the earliest in Falcon Stadium history, and the Falcons slumbered their way through much of the game, wasting opportunity after opportunity with fumbles and foibles aplenty. Air Force scored on its first possession but didn't get into the end zone again until Getz burst up the middle for a 21-yard touchdown that gave Air Force a 14-10 lead with 37 seconds left in the third quarter. Navy quarterback Trey Miller rushed for 110 yards before hurting his left ankle on a scramble on third-and-9 with just under 10 minutes remaining. He was helped off the field, and freshman Nick Sloan kicked a 41-yard field goal to make it a one-point game. The Falcons struck back quickly, needing just two plays and 28 seconds to score when Dietz pitched to wide receiver Dontae Strickland, who pulled up and hit Drew Coleman in stride for a 54-yard strike that made it 21-13. Reynolds replaced Miller at quarterback for Navy and capped a 75-yard drive with a 15-yard keeper for the score with 6:35 remaining. Then, Noah Copeland took the pitch and slipped Miles Fisher's tackle in the backfield, diving just inside the left pylon for the 2-point conversion that tied it at 21. Reynolds and Miller both completed each of their three passes, marking just the second perfect passing day in the program's history. Coleman caught four passes for 106 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown toss from Dietz four snaps into the game, with ice falling onto the field from the television camera zip lines, and ground fog rolling off the turf as it warmed. Nothing else would come easy the rest of the half as the Falcons missed a chip-shot field goal, lost three straight fumbles, and then failed to take full advantage of the clock at the end of the second quarter. They finished with a healthy 261 yards of offense but a 10-7 halftime deficit. Sloan kicked a 39-yard field goal, and Copeland's first career touchdown, a 5-yard run, gave the Midshipmen a 10-7 lead. Copeland's TD came after safety Tra'ves Bush scooped up Broam Hart's fumble at the Navy 27. Getz was stripped by linebacker Josh Tate at midfield with cornerback Quincy Adams recovering, and Ty MacArthur coughed up the ball at the Navy 14 with senior linebacker Keegan Wetzel smothering it for his first career fumble recovery. "The two things they did better was they held the ball better and they hit it a little better off the ground," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 23, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins  and NBC Sports Washington.

Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense—NFL coaches and others like to tell you that competition determines who wins roster spots in the league. And that may be true to an extent. But many roster spots are predetermined by a player’s contract situation and/or draft status. It is unlikely that an undrafted player like Fish Smithson will win a roster spot over Troy Apke even if the former outperforms the latter in every way during training camp. Apke was a fourth-round pick and they aren’t going to give up on him in favor of an undrafted player. It would cost $3.2 million in dead cap to cut Stacy McGee and only $150,000 to move on from Ziggy Hood so McGee will win a “competition” that is even remotely close. (Offensive projection here)

Redskins will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor at training camp—While this is something that could add a little spice to the Jets’ visit to Richmond, don’t look for much of anything to happen. Zach Brown might give a little extra shove to Pryor here and there but he’s not going to do anything that will draw blood or even cause a deep bruise. If nothing else, a big hit on Pryor would invite retaliation by the Jets on Josh Doctson or Paul Richardson. And that might lead to more retaliation and you end up with a brawl like the Redskins and Texans had a couple of years ago.

Trent Williams very much of approves of Smith and Guice—Williams is going into his ninth NFL season and he has yet to be on the winning side of a playoff game. He thinks that Alex Smith and Derrius Guice can help change that. 

The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list—I normally greet this list with a big yawn and this year was no exception. But I do find the omission of Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating and was third in adjusted net yards per attempt, odd. In an update to this post, the NFL released the names of the top 10 players and Smith is not on it. He shouldn’t be, but he should be somewhere on the 100, perhaps in the middle of the pack. The only Redskins player to appear on the list was Trent Williams at No. 57.

The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger—It’s likely that nine players who are 25 or younger will line up as starters for the Redskins this year. I don’t have a rundown of how that compares to the rest of the league but it’s notable that in the last two years six of them have replaced players who were either approaching age 30 or over it. I’ll engage in some speculation here and say that five of the young players—Daron Payne, Derrius Guice, Preston Smith, Jonathan Allen, and Montae Nicholson—are good enough to potentially make a Pro Bowl at some point in their careers. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Former Redskins defensive tackle Dave Butz was born on this date in 1950. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 33
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 70

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 78 days. 

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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USA TODAY Sports

GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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