Nationals

Ex-NFL GM: Michigan's Denard Robinson could be CB

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Ex-NFL GM: Michigan's Denard Robinson could be CB

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Denard Robinson's position is a secret for the final game of his college career.

It perhaps provides a preview of his unclear future in football.

The three-year starting quarterback might not throw for No. 19 Michigan against No. 11 South Carolina on New Year's Day at the Outback Bowl. He probably will catch some passes, lining up as a running back or receiver.

Robinson hopes showing that he can make plays without taking snaps will help NFL teams see what he can do.

``If you're making plays on the field, you can't hide that,'' Robinson said earlier this month before the Wolverines traveled to Florida. ``You can't hide a playmaker.''

Some project Robinson as a receiver in the pros.

NFL draft consultant and former Dallas Cowboys general manager Gil Brandt has another idea.

``I'd draft him to be a cornerback,'' Brandt said. ``A quarterback never wants to be told he's going to have to play another position, but I don't think he can play quarterback in the NFL. I do know teams are always looking for cornerbacks, and I think Robinson could do it because of his quickness and speed.

``But he'd have to want to do it to make it work.''

Robinson has declined to say much about what position he wants to attempt to play at the next level, saying he just wants to enjoy his senior season.

Nerve damage in his right elbow knocked him off the field Oct. 27 at Nebraska, keeping him out for the next two games and limiting his ability to throw in the final two games of the regular season.

Michigan moved him to running back and also had him take snaps without throwing a pass against Iowa and Ohio State, games in which he had 23 carries for 220 yards and a score and two receptions for 24 yards.

The Gamecocks are preparing for Robinson to play up to his spectacular potential.

``He's the best athlete that we'll play at quarterback,'' said South Carolina defensive line coach Brad Lawing, a former Michigan State assistant. ``He's a tremendous athlete and he can throw the ball. And if he's healthy throwing the ball, he can cause us some problems, and we know that.''

South Carolina has an answer for Robinson whether he runs right, left or up the middle. Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney helped his team shut down Clemson's speedy QB, Tajh Boyd, sacking him 4 1/2 times in a win.

Even though Robinson has been hurt, Lawing said the defensive staff has to come up with a game plan to keep him contained.

``Guys like him, you lay up awake every night and worry about him,'' Lawing said.

``One play, 80 yards from the goal line and boom, it's a touchdown,'' he added.

In Robinson's career, which started as Tate Forcier's backup when they both were freshmen, he has thrown for 6,250 and 49 TDs and run for 4,395 and 42 scores. He had a school-record 502 yards of offense at Notre Dame two years ago in his breakout performance and has 10 of the top 11 games in terms of total offense for college football's winningest team.

Robinson is confident his talents will translate one way or another in the NFL, but he's trying to put those thoughts on hold until his college career on the field is over.

``I'm soaking it in and having fun,'' he said. ``This is my last game and I want to make the most of it. My last time probably wearing the winged helmet, having fun with the team and just enjoying it with my teammates, the coaches and the staff that's around us.''

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AP Sports Writer Pete Iacobelli in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter:http://twitter.com/larrylage

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Max Scherzer's named Thursday's starter and penciled in for the postseason

Max Scherzer's named Thursday's starter and penciled in for the postseason

WASHINGTON -- So, it’s settled: Max Scherzer will pitch Thursday.

The Nationals’ best pitcher played catch in right field Tuesday. He felt well a day after a full bullpen session. He, finally, is aligned to make his first start since July 6.

Why Thursday? Well, this is where things are more interesting. Davey Martinez and his staff mapped out Scherzer’s possible starts from Thursday to the end of the season to see how he lines up if he would pitch every fifth game (not every fifth day because of scheduled off-days). If he pitches Thursday, this is how the rest of his season would look:

July 25 vs. Colorado

July 30 vs. Atlanta

Aug. 5 at San Francisco

Aug. 11 at New York

Aug. 17 vs. Milwaukee

Aug. 22 at Pittsburgh

Aug. 28 vs. Baltimore

Sept. 5 vs. New York

Sept. 8 at Atlanta

Sept. 14 vs. Atlanta

Sept. 20 at Miami

Sept. 25 vs. Philadelphia

Oct. 1 Wild-Card Game

Note three appearances against the first-place Braves. Consider a late-September start against Philadelphia. Then, of course, being on an extra day of rest should the wild-card game be necessary.

“You know Max,” Martinez said. “He wants to pitch today. He wants to pitch tomorrow. He wants to pitch Friday, Saturday, Sunday.”

Can things go wrong between now and then? Yes. A rainout could move Scherzer around. A recurrence of the mid-back strain which put him on the 10-day injured list July 13, retroactive to July 10, could happen. But, the Nationals took the time to map this out when considering whether Scherzer will pitch Thursday opposite Colorado or Friday against the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers. 

One wrinkle in this projection: The final series of the season is at Nationals Park versus Cleveland. The Indians start play Tuesday just three games out of the division lead in the American League Central and two ahead for a wild-card spot. Which means Cleveland could be playing for everything (from the division title, to hosting the wild-card game, to just getting into the postseason) or nothing because it has clinched a spot. Scherzer would not be on schedule for that series.

More immediately, Monday’s rainout forced the Nationals to massage their rotation. Erick Fedde was moved from Monday’s start to the first game of Wednesday’s split day-night doubleheader. Anibal Sanchez will pitch Friday. Joe Ross is expected to fill the open spot Saturday. Patrick Corbin, Scherzer and Sanchez will line up to face Atlanta when it visits next week.

There was one other starting pitcher issue exposed Tuesday. Austin Voth (right biceps tendinitis) has stopped throwing. He will have an MRI this week and his future is to be determined. Not so for Scherzer. He's expected back Thursday, then Oct. 1, if necessary.

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Wawa chooses the Ravens as new partners, much to the chagrin of Philly fans

Wawa chooses the Ravens as new partners, much to the chagrin of Philly fans

The world's best convenience store/gas station/sandwich shop has partnered with the Baltimore Ravens. 

Yes, Wawa is now the “official hoagie” of the Ravens. 

It's the partnership that Ravens' fans didn't even know they needed. If there is a lottery, the Ravens just won.

As Wawa celebrates its 50th year in Maryland, there will be several promotions that fans will be able to partake in. Opportunities to win tickets to games, co-branded merchandise, and unique experiences are just a handful of benefits Ravens fans can now take advantage of. You'll also see a lot more of Wawa at M&T Bank Stadium.

Choosing Wawa over Royal Farms (and that other store Sheetz) is clearly a top-tier partnership between two of the biggest brands in the Baltimore Metro area. And there is no doubt that there could not be a more perfect partnership between an NFL franchise and a convenience shop. 

"Wawa is thrilled to partner with the Ravens to make deeper connections with some of the best fans in football and reach communities all over the city of Baltimore and beyond,” Adam Schall, the senior director of store operations for Maryland said in a press release.

Our friends over in Philadelphia are not enthused:

But it is simple: the better store went with the better team. 

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