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Fisher, Rams dealing with 5-game winless stretch

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Fisher, Rams dealing with 5-game winless stretch

ST. LOUIS (AP) A five-game winless stretch has the rebuilding St. Louis Rams stuck on three wins.

Coach Jeff Fisher reminded one of the NFL's youngest rosters on Monday that with more consistency, and perhaps a turnover or two, the tide will turn.

Also, how easily momentum can swing in a game.

``They didn't like it, don't like it, but they saw where their opportunities were and they understand how this thing slipped away,'' Fisher said. ``And they're determined not to let it happen again.''

Fisher was critical of some officiating calls in Sunday's 27-13 loss to the New York Jets, notably a holding penalty that nullified rookie Chris Givens' 98-yard kickoff return near the end of the half that would have given the Rams a 14-13 lead.

He added that rookie Rodney McLeod, whose technique was fine except for a prolonged tug of the jersey, could have given officials no reason to target him.

``You know, there's three holdings on their first kickoff that aren't called and all of them were more egregious than the one that was called,'' Fisher said. ``I'll just leave it at that.''

Fisher said the Jets' Chaz Schilens did a good job of acting on the play.

``When the arms go up, sometimes that's all it takes,'' the coach said. ``But we're not good enough to even put ourselves in position to where they think it's a hold.''

Fisher said he probably should have given the ball more to Steven Jackson, who averaged 6.2 yards on 13 carries for St. Louis (3-6-1).

He didn't think quarterback Sam Bradford wasn't guilty of hanging onto the ball too long while perhaps intimidated a bit by an early interception.

``They did a good job affecting coverage and taking away checkdowns. He was just trying to make plays,'' Fisher said. ``There was a couple times where he probably could have pulled it down and run a little bit and got the first down.

``He knows someone's chasing him, he doesn't know who.''

Bradford was 6 for 8 for 60 yards on the Rams' opening 13-play, 86-yard drive capped by Brandon Gibson's 1-yard scoring catch. He was 8 for 10 for 79 yards before getting picked off by Eric Smith on a short sideline pattern, and 15 for 34 for 91 yards the rest of the way.

``It was just a late throw,'' Bradford said. ``I know better than that. You can't come across the field. I tried to force it.''

Jackson shared time with backup Daryl Richardson much of the first half of the season, part of the time while recovering from a groin injury.

Fisher has said this time of the season is when they'll lean on the 235-pound bruiser who's seeking his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season, so it was puzzling to see Richardson in the game for more than a play or two at a time.

``I think in retrospect, we probably should have fed `Jack' a little more,'' Fisher said. ``I talked to him today about it. He ran over some people, some good players.

``We're going to have to commit to that.''

A few turnovers, or just one, would help the Rams dictate terms. According to STATS LLC, they're just the second team since 1950 to go five games without a takeaway.

``You get a bounce here and there, but right now they're not bouncing our way,'' safety Quintin Mikell said. ``It's crazy, because that could be the difference in the game.''

The Rams had appeared to be poised for a surge after outplaying powerful San Francisco the previous week. Because of crucial mistakes, they settled for a tie.

``I don't believe in the whole `step forward, step back' stuff,'' middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. ``We definitely viewed this as a game that we thought we could get, and it's disappointing to lose one at home.

``I'm not going to lie about it. We have to figure out how to win games like these.''

The second half was all Jets. They put up 27 unanswered points before the Rams got a late score on Gibson's second TD grab, and not counting a kneel-down on the final play their last 21 snaps were all in St. Louis territory.

The Rams had six snaps in Jets territory the first possession and two more in the second quarter, but none in the third.

``Field position was tough, especially in the third quarter,'' Fisher said. ``Field position played a big part in the game.''

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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National League All-Star Game Roster Projection: How it will all break down

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USA Today Sports

National League All-Star Game Roster Projection: How it will all break down

In less than a month, the 2018 MLB All-Star game will take place at Nationals Park.

There are plenty of details that still need ironing out, but none are more important than the 64 players that will be taking the field at the Midsummer Classic.

Surely the Washington Nationals are hoping that many of their hometown stars will make the cut.

So, lets clear the air. How are the MLB All-Star rosters created? Well it is a combination of the fan vote, the player ballots, and the MLB Commissioners Office. No, it is not a 33-33-33 split, but rather a political (yet fair) process. Here is how it shakes out for there to be 32 players on each team:

  • Fan vote: eight position players in NL/ nine in AL (DH); plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 16 players in NL; 17 players in AL (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players) and five AL players (four pitchers, one position player)

Keep in mind, the MLB Commissioner’s Office merely is just there to ensure that there is one representative from all 30 MLB teams. Additionally, the player’s ballots are generally in-line with statistics and name recognition.

So let’s see how this shakes out for the National League All-Star Game roster. This factors in the latest fan vote returns:

National League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Buster Posey, Giants (Fan Vote), Wilson Contreras, Cubs (Player Ballot)
1B – Freddie Freeman, Braves (Fan Vote), Jose Martinez, Cardinals (Player Ballot), Justin Bour, Marlins (Commissioner’s Office)
2B – Ozzie Albies, Braves (Fan Vote), Scooter Gennett, Reds (Player Ballot)
3B – Nolan Arenado, Rockies (Fan Vote), Kris Bryant, Cubs (Player Ballot)
SS – Brandon Crawford, Giants (Fan Vote), Chris Taylor, Dodgers (Player Ballot)
OF – Nick Markakis, Braves (Fan Vote), Bryce Harper, Nationals (Fan Vote), Matt Kemp (Fan Vote), Albert Almora Jr., Cubs (Player Ballot), Charlie Blackmon, Rockies (Player Ballot), Corey Dickerson, Pirates (Player Ballot), David Peralta, Diamondbacks (Commissioner’s Office), Christian Yelich (Commissioner’s Office)

SP – Max Scherzer, Nationals (Player Ballot), Sean Newcomb, Braves (Player Ballot), Jon Lester, Cubs (Player Ballot), Aaron Nola, Phillies (Player Ballot), Jacob deGrom, Mets (Player Ballot), Mike Foltynewicz, Braves (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Brad Hand, Padres (Player Ballot), Sean Doolittle, Nationals (Player Ballot), Josh Hader Brewers (Player Ballot), Wade Davis, Rockies (Commissioner’s Office), Kenley Jansen (Commissioner’s Office), Jeremy Jeffress (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Dave Roberts, Dodgers

After this, there will be one more player chosen by another fan vote. The MLB Commissioner’s Office, along with the manager, choses five players to be selected in the penultimate vote. 

This puts three Nationals on the All-Star team with the Braves leading the charge with five selections.

Now of course nothing ever goes to plan, but heck its baseball, not everyone will be happy.

MORE NATS NEWS: