Redskins

Dooley: No word on his future at Tennessee

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Dooley: No word on his future at Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said if a decision has been made about his future with the Volunteers, it's news to him.

Dooley said at his Monday news conference that he hasn't been told whether the Volunteers plan to remove him at the end of the season, contrary to reports suggesting such a move was inevitable.

Dooley said he had spoken with athletic director Dave Hart since the Vols' 51-48 overtime loss Saturday to Missouri, and that Hart informed him nothing has been decided about the coach's future.

``We talked very frankly about it,'' Dooley said. ``He told me he had not made a decision, if we go 6-6, despite what all the reports are. Either the sources are wrong or Dave wasn't being forthright with me, and I have no reason to think Dave's not being forthright with me. He's an honest man. He's always been honest with me. I've appreciated how he's handled everything about this.''

Dooley has a 15-20 record in his three-year tenure. He's 4-18 in the Southeastern Conference and 0-15 against Top 25 teams. Tennessee (4-6, 0-6 SEC) plays Saturday at Vanderbilt (6-4, 4-3), the only SEC team to lose to the Vols over the last two seasons. Tennessee has lost 13 of its last 14 conference games.

Vanderbilt has been through similar situations this year.

Kentucky coach Joker Phillips was fired the day after the Wildcats' 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt. Auburn coach Gene Chizik's job status was the subject of much discussion in the days leading up to Vanderbilt's 17-13 victory over the Tigers.

``I have a tremendous respect for Derek,'' Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said. ``I have tremendous respect for the University of Tennessee. But our focus is completely on Vanderbilt. I don't have time to spend thinking about those types of things. I really don't.''

The Vols still can become bowl-eligible by winning at Vanderbilt and defeating Kentucky at home on Nov. 24. Dooley talked to his players before Monday's practice about not getting distracted by the uncertainty surrounding his job status.

``Yeah, I addressed it,'' Dooley said. ``They're getting banged up on their phone the way my kids were getting banged up on their phone, the way my wife was getting banged up (on her phone). Everybody said I was fired, and I didn't even know it. I'm sitting there working on Vandy, and I'd already talked to Dave.''

Tennessee's players indicated they've been dealing with these types of distractions for a few weeks now, but it reached a new level after Tennessee blew a 21-7 halftime lead and lost to Missouri.

``I'm getting text messages, calls, people on Twitter,'' sophomore tailback/punt returner and Knoxville native Devrin Young said. ``Every time I turn around, I'm hearing something about it. I'm giving them the same answers I'm giving you, and that's to focus on the things I can control.''

The Vols realize that's easier said than done.

``It's pretty hard,'' junior offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James said. ``You all ask us. Families ask us. We get phone calls from parents and stuff like that. But I think we're doing a pretty good job (staying focused) this year. We're more mature.''

They're also more competitive, though the Vols' record doesn't reflect it. In five of Tennessee's six losses, the Vols either were ahead or trailed by one score in the second half.

But the Vols also are staring at the realistic possibility of producing three straight losing seasons for the first time since 1909-11. Tennessee's defense has allowed the most points (37.0) and yards (480.2) per game of any SEC team.

The defense has struggled so much that Dooley spent nearly all his time working on that side of the ball last week and had defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri work from the press box Saturday for the first time this season. Dooley said he would continue that strategy this week.

Dooley, who practiced law before starting his coaching career, passed up a chance in his news conference to make a case on his behalf.

``I can't make that decision,'' Dooley said. ``I can give you compelling arguments why I should (return), and there's plenty of compelling arguments why I shouldn't. It's not going to be your decision. It's not going to be a bunch of these sources' decision. It's Dave and the chancellor (Jimmy Cheek). It's their decision. I can't control what they think. We've had a lot of good dialogue. I think (Hart's) got a good handle on how I do things in our program, where we are and why we're not getting the results we want. You move on and live with it.''

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AP sports writer Teresa Walker in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this report.

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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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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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