Redskins

Diehl back on starting line for champion Giants

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Diehl back on starting line for champion Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Veteran offensive tackle David Diehl is back in the New York Giants' starting lineup, except it wasn't the way he wanted.

Diehl was thrust back into the front line in the fourth quarter of Monday night's 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins when Sean Locklear suffered a major knee injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

Locklear had been one of the most productive free-agent acquisitions this season. Signed to back up Will Beatty and Diehl at the tackle positions, he started nine games. Two came on the left side because Beatty had back problems early, and seven on the right side after Diehl had an early knee injury and then a shoulder problem.

Locklear played so well, that some wondered whether the 30-year-old Diehl might lose his job to the injuries.

That's not an issue anymore with Locklear on injured reserve. Diehl is back and excited to be playing in the stretch run as the Giants (7-5) look to nail down their second straight NFC East title.

The job resumes Sunday against the New Orleans Saints (5-7) at MetLife Stadium.

``I'm just excited to get out there and play football and feel good, feel ready to play and help our football team win games,'' Diehl said. ``We've got a four-game stretch and it starts this weekend.''

Diehl isn't your average backup taking over for an injured player. He's a 10-year veteran who started every game for the Giants from the time he was drafted in the fifth round in 2003 until late in the 2010 season when hip and hamstring injuries forced him to miss four in a row.

He started every one last season as the Giants won their second Super Bowl since 2007. He even moved from left guard to tackle late in the season when Beatty had an eye injury.

``You know he is going to be prepared,'' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said Thursday. ``You know he is going to know exactly what to do. He is going to compete and you know he is going to be physical. Thank God we have him. We are about as thin as you can possibly be.''

The injury leaves second-year pro James Brewer as the backup tackle and the jumbo blocker in goal line situations. He has only played in two games in his career.

Diehl returns with the Giants in a very familiar situation. They've been inconsistent of late and need a late run to guarantee a chance at repeating. Heading into Sunday, New York has a one-game lead over Dallas and Washington in the NFC East with four games to go.

``Obviously we've been in this situation before, so people are always going to say that,'' Diehl said. ``Did we want to put ourselves in this position? No, absolutely not. Last week was an opportunity that we lost and we can never get back, but the only way to bounce back from it is this Sunday.

``To come out and play this game the best we can, play smart football and come away with a win. Keep building from here. We believe in one another. We believe in the guys in this locker room. When we play our game and we're at our top, we think that nobody can stop us.''

Diehl isn't bitter about not starting last week. His shoulder limited his practice time and Locklear deserved to play. Diehl instead played special teams and watched the offense most of the game.

``It's a role that I'll never get used to,'' Diehl said. ``When your opportunity comes back, you come back, and you come back strong. Most importantly, you play as best as you can to secure it.''

Beating the Saints isn't going to be easy. New Orleans has won the last three against New York, with the last two games being blowouts. The difference this time is the game is being played in New Jersey instead of the fast, indoor track of the Superdome.

``We haven't played them at home in a while,'' Diehl said. ``To go there, it's a tough place to play when you go out there and play in the Superdome. They play extremely well at home, so it's nice to, number one, have home field advantage; playing them here, in our house. Most importantly, we need to feed off the energy of the crowd and give them something to cheer about.''

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NOTES: Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee), safety Tyler Sash (hamstring), tight end Travis Beckham (knee) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee) did not practice Thursday. ... Coach Tom Coughlin said linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) is close to playing for the first time since mid-October. ... Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said the Saints kicked the stuffing out of the Giants - or something like that - in a 49-24 decision last year in New Orleans.

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Former Redskins CB Shawn Springs wouldn't mind a red, white and blue color scheme with new name

Former Redskins CB Shawn Springs wouldn't mind a red, white and blue color scheme with new name

Over the next few days, and in the spirit of a Presidential election year, NBC Sports Washington is polling ex-Redskins players and NFLers who grew up in the DMV for their thoughts on the burgundy-and-gold's pending name change - and what name THEY would like to see.  

With the Redskins officially reviewing their name for a seemingly imminent change, suggestions from fans have poured in. 

Not only do you see name ideas like the "Washington Red Tails" or "Washington Warriors", but nowadays you see logo mockups, uniform designs and new color schemes to go along with them. With almost too many to choose, former Washington all-pro cornerback Shawn Springs highlighted the best suggestions he's seen.

"I like the Washington Warriors or the Senators," Springs told NBC Sports Washington. "With the Senators, you have the Capitals and Nationals, so you can keep that theme in DC."

Springs, a Silver Spring native, played in Washington from 2004-to-08, tallying 12 interceptions, 250 tackles and 52 passes defended. He seemed to like the idea of including the Redskins in the nation's capital theme, especially if it meant changing the team's color scheme to match every other pro team in the city.

"I like the fact that the Nats, Wizards [and Capitals] all wear red white and blue," he said. "I think that'd be a real cool thing for DC. And hell, both the [Nationals and Capitals] won. I just like something that's gonna give you a theme with the rest of the teams [in DC]."

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Washington's controversial name could be seen as divisive for the city's sports fans, so what better way to unite everyone than every team sharing the same color scheme. Pittsburgh is the only other city whose pro sports teams (Penguins, Steelers, Pirates) use the same color scheme, and it certainly works for them. 

One obstacle going with the Senators would be the fact that the name belonged to the city's baseball team from 1901-1960 and again as an expansion team from 1961 to 1971. But Senators 1.0 moved to Minnesota to become the Twins and Senators 2.0 left quickly for Texas to become the Rangers. Baseball has since returned to DC and the Nationals couldn't be a better name for the franchise. Why not bring "Senators" back in a different sport?

RELATED: COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF REDSKINS FAN-GENERATED NEW NAMES

You can recapture some of the town's sports history and perhaps even recycle some of the logo/uniform concepts they used years ago. Not to mention how cool it'd be for a Walter Johnson jersey to become appropriate attire at an NFL game.

Whatever the team's name ends up being, this whole saga has bred a ton of creativity and done a lot of heavy lifting for everyone set to choose new fantasy football team names this year.

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Ex-Redskins CB Fred Smoot says team officials like 'two or three' replacement names

Ex-Redskins CB Fred Smoot says team officials like 'two or three' replacement names

Over the next few days, and in the spirit of a Presidential election year, NBC Sports Washington is polling ex-Redskins players and NFLers who grew up in the DMV for their thoughts on the burgundy-and-gold's pending name change - and what name THEY would like to see.  

The Washington Redskins released a statement on Friday announcing they are undergoing a "thorough review" of the team name after major corporate sponsors FedEx, Nike, PepsiCo, and others put pressure on the organization to change the mascot.

At this point, a name change seems inevitable. So, what will the team's new moniker be?

Former Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot told NBC Sports Washington on Sunday that the team's top decision makers, especially owner Dan Snyder, have a few prime candidates that stand out.

"What I'm hearing from Redskins Park, there are already two or three names that they like," Smoot said. "That tells you that Dan has already been working towards it."

Over the past few days, several potential name replacements have surfaced, with the Warriors, Redtails, and Redhawks being the most popular. For Smoot, 'Warriors' would be the easiest transition.

"Me, in my head, Warriors is the one that sticks out the most," Smoot said. "I think it's an easy transition. There are no Warriors in the NFL. It's already a mascot for Golden State, and they've gotten no pushback on it."

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The name 'Warriors' also allows the team to honor Native Americans, something Smoot said Snyder wants to do.

"At the end of the day, besides Warriors, I know Redtails is up there," Smoot said. "But [Synder] said something that stuck out to me: he wants to keep the logo and acknowledge Native Americans, give them something that they're proud of. So that tells me that it won't be Redtails."

While 'Warriors' might be the easiest transition for the franchise, Smoot offered a few of his own suggestions. And they were quite creative.

"If you're going for a total re-brand, you can go Red Wolves," Smoot said. "I've never heard anybody say anything about that. The Wolf is almost a spirit animal for Native Americans. I think the Red Wolves would be one of those things that I heard nobody say that I think would be a great one. I can just see FedEx Field and the 80,000 people just howling like Wolves. That would really be something."

Plus, the cornerback mentioned that Snyder does not want to change the colors or the team's current logo.

"If you get a name like the 'Americans' or 'Red Wolves,' you don't have to change the brand," Smoot said. "Whenever 'Redskins' is, you're just taking the name off. [Snyder] already said he's keeping the colors. He's keeping the logo. Now, it's just changing the name."

RELATED: LIST OF REDSKINS FAN-GENERATED NEW NAMES

Outside of the Red Wolves, Smoot also had a few other...um....out-of-the-box suggestions.

"I have another one that's off the edge, because you know I'm an edgy guy," Smoot said. "This one, you're pretty much going to laugh at. What about the Washington District of Columbia?"

Additionally, Smoot suggested the Redskins could take the mascot of one prominent college athletics program - or also change the name to something that would honor the team's own history.

"If you're going for a total re-brand, there are so many different animals that haven't been used," Smoot said. "We could be the Washington Wolverines. But I don't think [Snyder] wants a total re-brand. I think we could be the Washington Pigskins. Just put the Pig in front of [Skins]. We're already connected to the Hog."

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