Redskins

Dropped passes pile up for Vikings in defeat

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Dropped passes pile up for Vikings in defeat

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Vikings are in prime position to grab a playoff spot with a strong finish down this closing stretch of daunting games.

In their first test, they dropped the ball.

A lot.

The Vikings (6-5) emerged from an ugly 28-10 loss at Chicago still tied with Seattle and Tampa Bay for the second NFC wild card spot, but they've lost to both of those teams and thus must finish ahead of them. The loss to the Bears (8-3) on Sunday put a big dent in Minnesota's goal of becoming the surprise winner of the NFC North, too, leaving the Vikings in third place with little margin for error remaining.

They play at Green Bay (7-4) this Sunday and Chicago again the week after that, with top-level performances required to win. And if they can't catch Christian Ponder's passes, well, the production by the rest of the team might not even matter.

Drops aren't an official NFL statistic, but anyone who watched the Bears game could've conservatively credited their receivers with at least six, including three for Jerome Simpson.

``The number of dropped passes we had yesterday was really unacceptable in our league,'' said coach Leslie Frazier, whose criticism of his players is usually limited and muted. ``It's hard to continue drives when you don't catch the football, and that's a part of what you have to be able to do as a wide receiver in our league.

``The drops were not good. They hurt our continuity, our ability to move the football. So we have a lot of work to do. A lot to get done. I have a lot to do to get our team back, refocused on the task at hand for this next ball game.''

Ponder had his share of erratic throws, including one that sailed past Stephen Burton for an interception that Chicago followed with a touchdown on the next play. He finished 22 for 43 and again had little success with the deep ball. But his receivers did him no favors, with star Percy Harvin back in Minnesota still healing from a sprained left ankle.

``It's tough. You want to see everybody making plays and contributing,'' wide receiver Michael Jenkins said. ``Nobody wants to drop a ball or have a bad play. Guys just have to bounce back and make the next one.''

Frazier said he couldn't recall a game with so many drops by his team.

``We'll go back and do some drills and do some different things to try to help our guys to hold on to the football,'' he said, adding: ``When your teammates see those opportunities disappear, it affects the entire team. It affects the guys on the field, affects the guys on the sideline.''

Adrian Peterson lost a fumble, too, that directly led to a Chicago touchdown, and the defense can't escape blame, either. The first half was a collective failure, with a nonexistent pass rush and too many productive runs by the Bears on third-and-short. For the afternoon, they converted 11 of 19 third downs.

Chicago was coming off a 32-7 loss at San Francisco last Monday, allowing six weeks. But with a short week of preparation, the sting of that nationally televised shellacking and a slew of injuries on their offense despite the return of quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears weren't deterred.

The Vikings will face a Packers team this Sunday under similar circumstances. Aaron Rodgers has taken more sacks than any other quarterback in the NFL, and they're coming off a 38-10 loss to the New York Giants.

``It's pretty simple. The Bears played better than we did. The things that went wrong are totally correctable. The Bears game is behind us now. The tape's done,'' center John Sullivan said. ``We're focused on going out and beating the Packers.''

NOTES: Frazier said he spoke with Peterson about his absence from the team bus from the hotel to the stadium, forcing him to take a cab and arrive late. The coach declined to be specific about their conversation or any punishment planned, but he said he ``can't see why it would'' happen again. ``Any time one of your leaders is not where he's supposed to be, it's not good. I mean, I talk to our team all the time about being where you're supposed to be and being where you're supposed to be on time. So it's a big deal,'' Frazier said. ... Geoff Schwartz took more snaps (36) at RG for the first time this season than Brandon Fusco (30), who has started every game. Frazier said Fusco has struggled with his footwork and blocking mechanics. ``When he's on, he's a very good player. But there are moments where he's just little bit off from a fundamental standpoint,'' Frazier said.

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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USA Today Sports

10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Anthony Santander has a huge outing in blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Anthony Santander has a huge outing in blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox

Check out the latest news and notes on the Baltimore Orioles

Player Updates:

Even in a loss, the night belonged to OF Anthony Santander who went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple and two runs scored. Santander tripled and scored during the Orioles' five-run rally in the third inning. He then tagged Rick Porcello for a solo shot in the fifth that pulled the Orioles to within 10 runs at 16-6. It was the first four-hit game of the young outfielder's career. 

SP Thomas Eshelman had a rough day on the mound giving up nine runs (five earned) on six hits over 3 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander also issued three walks while striking out three. He struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark in this one, giving up home runs to Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts before departing in the fourth. 

Due to Pedro Severino's illness, the Orioles optioned C Austin Wynns to Triple-A Norfolk. He has played in 16 games for the O's this year with a .233 batting average, zero homers and three RBI in 47 plate appearances.

Injuries:

C Pedro Severino: Illness, Day-to-day

SP Dylan Bundy: Knee, 10-day Injured List

RP Josh Rogers: Elbow, 10-day Injured List

OF DJ Stewart: Ankle, 10-day Injured List

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-day Injured List

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-day Injured List

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-day Injured List

Coming Up:

Sunday 7/21: Orioles vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Monday 7/22: Orioles at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field

Tuesday 7/23: Orioles at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field

Source: Rotoworld

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