Dave Johnson: Better Effort Does Not Give Better Result


Dave Johnson: Better Effort Does Not Give Better Result

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:49pm

Wizards vs. Nuggets Game Highlights & Postgame
By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comDenver----Insult and injury have often gone together for the Washington Wizards this season. It happened again when the Wizards lost Andray Blatche to a sprained left ankle and a game to the Denver Nuggets 97-87.With 6:48 to go in the fourth quarter Nene threw down an open slam dunk to give the Nuggets a 79-70 advantage which at the time was their biggest lead of the game. Nene was alone for the finish because Blatche had landed on Nenes foot and turned his ankle and ended up wreathing in pain on the baseline.It was the cruelest of finishes on a night when the Wizards gave themselves a chance at a big upset. Blatche, who is now listed as day-to-day with the injury, tried to play through after a timeout but was forced to the sidelines.Playing against an imposing Nuggets frontcourt including Nene and Johan Petro, Blatche excelled with a series of strong low post moves as he led the Wizards in scoring with 23 points. Blatche was the focal point of a Wizards effort that did not allow the Nuggets a single lead until almost halfway through the third quarter."We dictated how the tempo was played," said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. "We got the ball inside and played off Dray. But when they turned the pressure up, we started taking some perimeter shots and quicker shots and not making them play defense and that fed into their ability to run and get in the open floor."Carmelo Anthony scored a game high 29-points and also grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Nuggets. J.R. Smith provided the Nuggets boost off the bench with 17 points and 13 of those points in the fourth quarter when he was hitting shots even when he barely had a handle on the ball.Playing their fifth game in six nights, the Wizards seemed to surprise the Nuggets with a strong start. Al Thornton finished a break triggered by a JaVale McGee block of an Anthony drive to give the Wizards an 18-10 lead with 5:03 to go in the first quarter.Thornton finished with 16 points but guarding Anthony put him in foul trouble. Alonzo Gee, an undrafted rookie from Alabama who is on a ten-day contract, stepped in and not only defended Anthony well but scored 13 points with 10 rebounds and 2 steals."He is playing well. He is a guy who can play in this league I like the things he does," said Saunders. "We are going to resign him to another ten-day contract. He is athletic and he defends."In some ways it was amazing the Wizards not only led for most of the game but stayed competitive deep into the fourth quarter even though they missed 11 free throws. In addition the Wizards could never really get Randy Foye or Mike Miller involved in the offense.The Wizards losing streak is now nine games and is the longest since a nine game slide in January of 2001."We have a couple of days to lick our wounds. Well get a day of rest and then a practice and then we have a couple tough games," Saunders said. "We got better in situations tonight and that is a positive. We know how we have to play; it is just a matter of being able to bottle that."

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So what does Josh Norman want from Redskins fans? 'Pandemonium'

So what does Josh Norman want from Redskins fans? 'Pandemonium'

Josh Norman made headlines last week when he called out a subset of Redskins fans for booing the home team and others for not showing up to FedEx Field.

Some fans took exception to Norman's comments, but on Wednesday, the star cornerback made clear exactly what he wanted from fans. 

"You want to see an atmosphere full with raving Redskins Nation fans and pandemonium," Norman said during an interview with Larry Michael on Redskins Nation. 

"That's what you want to see."

Norman's request seems more than fair, especially considering the 6-3 Redskins will take on the 6-3 Texans. Both teams are in first place in their division, and while Washington is coming off a solid road win in Tampa, Houston travels to FedEx Field winners of six-straight. 

"It’s big, because the other team is coming in at 6-3," Norman said. 

6-3 is the best Redskins record this late in the season since 2008, and Norman recognizes his team is trying to turn mediocre tide of recent years and that fans might need a reminder.

"To change that from the culture where it was to now coming around, come on man, we need your support."

For decades, the Redskins fan base was considered among the NFL's best. Venerable RFK Stadium had arguably the best home-field advantage in the league. Norman remembered that.

"This is a signature storied franchise," Norman said. "I grew up with it knowing the Washington Redskins and knowing how big it was. Down in Carolina that was our team. The Washington Redskins was the team of the South. Everybody was about that."

Times change.

The 'Skins left RFK more than 20 years ago and now Carolina roots for the Panthers. 

Still, for Norman and many players, the challenge is out there for the fans to fill up FedEx Field and make it a hostile atmosphere for the Texans.

"From the inside of the stands to the outside of it, all Redskins Nation going in there live, pumping us up. We feeding off of them, we giving them something to cheer for and they giving us back something to be excited for," Norman said. "Those big 3rd downs. As long as we need them, we hear those decibels. We need it up to 105. Literally just blow it off the roof, those decibels, just shoot them up. That’s what we need."


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Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III prepared to start if hip injury sidelines Joe Flacco


Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III prepared to start if hip injury sidelines Joe Flacco

Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson has had his fair share of life changing moments. 

Winning the Heisman Trophy in 2016, being drafted by the Ravens in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and come Sunday, possibly his first NFL start.

With Joe Flacco nursing a hip injury suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 9, the 21-year-old could be leading the Ravens for a full 60 minutes against division rival Cincinnati Bengals in what could be a defining moment of their season.

"I'm just going into it like any other week," Jackson said Wednesday. "Just preparing for whatever."

While Jackson has appeared in all nine games going 7-for-12 for 87 passing yards and one touchdown, he is the only first-round quarterback out of the 2018 draft that has yet to start this season. 

When asked how he would feel if his name is called Sunday, Jackson said he would have "butterflies" at first but added once the ball is snapped, "it's on."

Through the Ravens' first half of the season, how and when Jackson is utilized at either quarterback or receiver, has lacked consistency. Add in the lack of highlight reel passes from him and many are concerned he's not ready for an NFL start. 

The fast style of NFL play compared to that of college football was something Jackson admittedly struggled with throughout the preseason. But with nine regular season games under his belt, Jackson feels that is the area where he's taken the biggest strides. 

"Calling the plays," Jackson said. "Before I'd have to ask coach a hundred times, 'say it again, say it again,' but now he says it one time to me. Don't get me wrong, sometimes if [the call] is long or whatever I have to ask [coach to] say it again, but other than that I'm getting better with that."

Head coach John Harbaugh offered no insight on who would be their starting quarterback on Sunday and it can be expected he'll keep hush up until the last moment. Flacco was not on the practice field during media availability Wednesday, either. 

But let's not forget the other veteran quarterback on their roster; Robert Griffin III

For the first time since 2009, the Ravens decided to keep three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster for this very reason.

After sitting out of football for a year, RGIII was given a second chance in Baltimore, but has been a gameday inactive since the start of the season. If the week progresses and neither Flacco or Jackson seem ready, it could be the comeback of the once Offensive Rookie of the Year. 

"That's my job. That's why they brought me here," Griffin III said Wednesday on if he feels prepared to possibly start. "They brought me here to be a pro. They brought me here to help this team if need be. I try to help the defense every week on scout team and then do those [reps], and if my number's called I'll be able to go out there and lead this team."

Both RGIII and Jackson said that it would be "awesome" if they were named the starting QB on Sunday, but that no matter who it ends up being they're all here for one another.

"I'm going to continue to help [Lamar] just like I have all season because we're about the Ravens here," Griffin III said. "It's not about individuals. We've got a pretty daunting task ahead with this Bengals team and then just with the rest of our schedule, so we've got to make sure we make the most of every opportunity."