Nationals

Eagles RB McCoy will return, start Sunday

Eagles RB McCoy will return, start Sunday

PHILADELPHIA (AP) LeSean McCoy could watch from the sideline, continue his recovery from a concussion and return next year when the games matter to the Philadelphia Eagles.

He's not wired that way.

``I don't live like that, just taking off,'' McCoy said Wednesday. ``I'm a competitor, and I'm going to finish the season out.''

McCoy will start at running back against Washington (8-6) on Sunday in his first game back after missing four because of a severe concussion. The Eagles (4-10) are playing out the string in another disappointing season, so it would've been understandable if McCoy just sat out the last two games after a serious head injury.

But McCoy wants to play, no matter the score, situation or circumstance. He was injured in the final minutes of a blowout loss to the Redskins on Nov. 18. Still, he defended coach Andy Reid's decision to keep him in the game that late with the outcome already decided.

``Even when I got hurt, people blamed Coach for a bit,'' McCoy said, ``but I want to be in there.''

Rookie Bryce Brown filled in nicely for McCoy, running for 347 yards and four touchdowns in his first two career starts. But Brown had just 40 yards in the next two games and fumbled four times in four games.

Even still, Reid plans to rotate the two backs.

``I'm going to keep a close eye on him,'' Reid said of McCoy. ``It won't be a normal workload like you'd see during the season when he's fresh. He's coming off an injury. I understand that, so I'll keep a close eye on him. He'll work in as a starter and then Bryce has some valuable experience that he's gained over the last few weeks so we'll get him in there.''

Before he got hurt, McCoy was far short of matching his 2011 numbers. He has 750 yards rushing and two touchdowns along with 40 catches for 235 yards and three scores.

Last year, McCoy set franchise records with 17 touchdowns rushing, and 20 total scores, while earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. He also led the NFL with 102 first downs and 48 runs of 10-plus yards, while finishing as the league's fourth-leading rusher with 1,309 yards.

``He's such a dynamic player, so it's exciting to have him back because he's done so many great things here and just to have him healthy,'' rookie quarterback Nick Foles said. ``I know he's excited to be back out there. He just adds another dimension.''

Quarterback Michael Vick also will be available this week, but he'll be the No. 3 quarterback behind Foles and Trent Edwards because of his extended layoff. Vick missed five games with a concussion.

``We'll just see how things go,'' Reid said. ``But right now, I just want to get him back in the swing and going here and make sure he's good.

``Right now, he feels great, so we just want to make sure we keep it that way.''

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NOTES: Safety Nate Allen, a second-round pick in 2010, was benched. Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson will be the safeties against the Redskins. Anderson filled in for Coleman, who missed the last two games with a chest injury. ``Colt came in and we asked him to fill in at the line of scrimmage and be a physical player in there and he did a nice job with that,'' Reid said. ``We needed that at that time and we're going to need it this week. The (Redskins) run the football and do a good job. So, we'll leave him in that position.'' ... TE Brent Celek is expected to play after missing a game with a concussion. Backup TE Clay Harbor was placed on injured reserve with a back injury.

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Nationals cancel 2021 Winterfest due to COVID-19

Nationals cancel 2021 Winterfest due to COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic will prevent fans from attending Nationals games during the 2020 season and it appears will also cost them an annual offseason tradition.

The Nationals announced Wednesday their plans to cancel Winterfest 2021. The convention was originally scheduled for January 2021.

"Due to the continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Winterfest 2021, which was scheduled to be held in January," the team said in a statement. "We know how important this event is to our fans. That said, we look forward to offering a variety of alternative opportunities for our community to come together to celebrate our team."

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Details regarding the alternative opportunities are unknown as of this writing. 

In the meantime, Washington will continue to play its 2020 season without fans. They are 4-5 entering a series with the Orioles Friday and had to take four days off after the Marlins experienced a COVID-19 outbreak within their clubhouse and the Nats' series with Miami was postponed. 

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Making a case for Warriors as Washington Football Team's new name

Making a case for Warriors as Washington Football Team's new name

It's been several weeks since the Washington Football Team announced it was retiring its former name and logo after more than 80 years. Ever since FedEx became the first known sponsor to formally ask Washington to change its name, fans have taken to social media to voice some of their favorites among potential replacements. I spoke with several marketing experts about a few of the fan-generated names, and will use their responses to make a case for some of the most popular suggestions. This is the case for Red Hogs.

Case for: Washington Warriors

When it comes to the Washington Football Team, developing a new brand has as much to do with separating itself from the previous identity as it does creating a new one.

While the team’s previous moniker provided a sense of pride and joy to some people, it was considered derogatory by others. Those offended by the name had expressed resentment for decades before the team finally decided to take action this summer. But the team only did so after its bottomline was at risk of taking a hit by corporate sponsors threatening to end their relationships with the team.

If Washington wants people to take its rebrand seriously and view it as more than a money-saving play, the team will need to completely distance itself from Native American imagery. That being considered, is Warriors a good choice as the replacement name? It depends, says Tim Derdenger, associate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business.

“It depends on which direction you go with it,” Derdenger said. “I’ve read things that they want to keep the feather and go in that direction as opposed to a military warrior, more of the Indian warrior. And if they do it the latter, they’re completely missing the mark on why they’re changing their name.”

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This conundrum highlights the different things that have to be considered when undergoing a name change. It isn’t just the name; it’s also the logo, the branding on team gear and uniforms, the stadium atmosphere, the fan experience, and so much more. If the team was able to rebrand itself as the Warriors without singling out a specific race or group of people, the name could work. The Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association have a great brand and don’t use human imagery at all, going with the Bay Bridge as their primary logo.

Matt White, president of WHITE64, pointed to Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder's background in advertising and branding as a reason he thinks the team could pull it off.

“I think what you have to do is, do it in a thoughtful, logical manner, where you’re hiring a firm, which he has relationships with that can really do a great job,” White said.

The option for thoughtful branding exists in a way for "Warriors" that it doesn’t for a name like "Braves." Some fans had tossed around the latter as an option because of its history as the Washington franchise’s original name for one season in 1932, when the team was still located in Boston. But that’s a piece of history most fans likely forgot, if they ever knew it. And a Brave, by definition, is specifically a Native American warrior. The name doesn’t allow for a change in branding the same way Warriors does.

“The Cleveland Indians are already being asked to change their name. The Atlanta Braves apparently are even being looked at with that,” White said. “And again, there’s gotta be a solution that doesn’t offend somebody but that can still capture the spirit.”

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That's where Warriors could be used, like Braves, to appease the base of fans who never wanted to part with the old moniker. However, Brad Nierenberg, the CEO of RedPeg Marketing, thinks choosing that name is also a choice to please those particular fans over the people who want to see a clean break. 

“If you’re gonna stay close with the Redskins, I think you’re gonna be staying with a fan base that ... you’re gonna placate the challenge to changing the name, then the Warriors and Braves are gonna be that next step,” Nierenberg said.

“I think there’s gonna be people saying they didn’t go far enough. That’s my gut.”

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This is where everything else that accompanies the name change becomes so vital. Because while it’s likely true everyone won’t be happy with Warriors, it’s possible to win over a few more people with the proper branding and imagery.

"The logo is then going to be the key part,” Derdenger said. “And what that logo will look like and how it connects back to the military warrior.

“I can’t right now see in my head what a Warriors logo looks like. ... But they have to go away from the connection to the Native Americans.”

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