Redskins

Freeney prepares for what could be final home game

Freeney prepares for what could be final home game

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Dwight Freeney understands the predicament.

He'll be 33 in February, his sack totals have declined each of the last three years and this year's salary cap hit was a staggering $19.035 million, the highest in football. Even Freeney knows that's not a good combination to take into contract talks with the Colts.

So no matter how much Freeney wants to finish his career in the same place he started it, he will try to savor every moment Sunday against Houston in what will likely be his home finale in Indianapolis.

``This could be it,'' he said. ``We'll see what happens for me and my career later and what they decide to do. Those are all business decisions for both of us. But yeah, I think the later in your career, the older you get and especially when your contract is what it is, you have to sit there and say, `Hey this might be it, man.' Just take in as much as you can take in.''

Whatever happens next, there's no doubting what Freeney has meant to this franchise over the years.

Tony Dungy and Bill Polian took the 266-pound pass rusher with the 11th overall pick in the 2002 draft as the cornerstone for their defense, even when the critics contended the choice was a reach. They argued Freeney was the quintessential small, quick college defensive end who would be nothing more than a third-down pass rush specialist against the NFL's mammoth offensive linemen - and they were wrong.

Despite starting only the final eight games as a rookie, Freeney still broke the Colts' single-season franchise record with 13 sacks, was named the AFC's defensive rookie of the month in November and December that season and finished second to Julius Peppers in balloting for defensive rookie of the year.

And he never really slowed down.

Freeney won battles on the line of scrimmage with his blazing speed and spin move, something teammates and opponents continue to try and emulate. He created nightmares for opposing linemen not only because of his ability to get to the quarterback but to knock the ball loose in the same motion. He teamed with Robert Mathis to form one of the league's most feared pass rushes for nearly a decade.

Fans appreciated his celebrations, a simple salute to those who showed up on Sunday afternoons, and players embraced his simple, down-to-earth approach to the game and life.

``We've been playing together 10 years so that speaks for itself,'' said Mathis, who joined the Colts in 2003. ``It's almost like we formed a brotherhood. It's deeper than just a teammate. We call it `9398 Bring the Heat Boulevard.' We kind of coined that term, so we want to keep it going as long as we can.''

Freeney is the franchise's career sacks leader (106 1/2), the only Colts player to win a league sacks title (16 in 2004) and his seven Pro Bowl appearances are tied for fifth in franchise-history with Lenny Moore. The only Colts with more Pro Bowl selections are Peyton Manning (11), Gino Marchetti and John Unitas (10 each) and Jim Parker (eight). Marchetti, Unitas, Parker and Moore are all Hall of Fame members, and Marchetti is the only Colts' defender to appear in more all-star games than Freeney.

When the playoffs end, the Colts will have to make the decision about re-signing Freeney or letting him go.

A year ago, Freeney watched the Colts say goodbye to four-time MVP Manning. running back Joseph Addai, linebacker Gary Brackett, tight end Dallas Clark, center Jeff Saturday and receiver Pierre Garcon. Receiver Reggie Wayne was so certain he would be caught in last season's overhaul that he packed up his locker and took down his nameplate a few days before the 2011 season finale at Jacksonville. He wound up coming back, a move that may go down as the Colts' best offseason player move outside of taking Andrew Luck in the draft.

Indy also gave Mathis a big contract and the converted linebacker, like Wayne, rewarded the Colts with another Pro Bowl season.

The questions about Freeney, though, are different.

He was most effective in the traditional 4-3 defense, and after switching to the 3-4 for the first time this season, Freeney has only 18 tackles and four quarterback sacks. Those numbers are down from 2011, when he had 19 tackles and 8 1/2 sacks, which was down from 25 tackles and 10 sacks in 2010. And that was down from 2009 when Freeney had 31 tackles and 13 1/2 sacks.

So the Colts must decide whether he fits into this defense, and if so, how much he's worth on a team that continues to build for the future?

``You don't know what's going to happen at the end of the day. The strangest things happen. Look at last year, everybody thought Peyton would be here and he's not,'' Freeney said. ``I guess we will figure it out when the season is over. I just appreciate everything this city has done for me, the fans have done for me. It's been a great ride and hopefully we can continue it.''

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After Patrick Mahomes' injury, could Case Keenum or Colt McCoy be on the move?

After Patrick Mahomes' injury, could Case Keenum or Colt McCoy be on the move?

Patrick Mahomes hurt his knee Thursday night, and while the severity is unknown, Kansas City's Super Bowl plans just got dealt a major hurdle. 

The truth is if Mahomes needs knee surgery then the Chiefs might need to recalibrate their hopes for January and beyond. If Mahomes only needs rest, however, then the Redskins might actually be able to help. 

It's no secret Washington and Kansas City know how to make a trade. January 2018 the two teams worked out a blockbuster when quarterback Alex Smith came to the Redskins and cornerback Kendall Fuller along with a third-round pick went to the Chiefs. The same power brokers are in charge now that pulled off that trade: Andy Reid in KC and Bruce Allen in DC.

And oddly enough the Redskins have a bit of a surplus in veteran quarterbacks. Neither Case Keenum or Colt McCoy can replace Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, but either signal caller might be able to keep the Chiefs afloat for a few weeks.

The trade deadline is approaching fast, coming October 29th. The Redskins are currently 1-5 and there is no reason to keep both Keenum and McCoy on the roster the rest of the year. 

Washington drafted Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick, and eventually, the Ohio State star will start for the Redskins. Beyond that, both Keenum and McCoy have contracts that expire after this season. Neither player figures in the long-term plans for the Burgundy and Gold, and certainly the future is to eventually go to Haskins.

Want one more mitigating factor? Even after his devestating injury last season, Alex Smith is due more than $20 million guaranteed next year. He has been at practice and games for weeks, and appears to be close with Washington upper management. It's not crazy to think that in some role Smith will be around in 2020 along with Haskins. That makes Keenum or McCoy that much more expendable down the stretch. 

If Kansas City needs somebody to run their offense for a few weeks, the Redskins should dangle McCoy or Keenum. Or both. 

It's unclear that either player would entice much of an offer, but keep in mind, McCoy is widely respected around the league and Keenum had the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game just two seasons ago. The return for Washington might not be much, but something is always more thank nothing. 

Most deals get made around necessity, and Kansas City might have a big need. 

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Fantasy Football: Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 7

Fantasy Football: Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 7

Week 7 is here and it is time to take a good look at your lineups and decide whether you like the direction your team is headed. If you are sitting at 1-5, its time to make a season-deciding trade. If you're sitting at 2-4 or .500, bolster your bench for later in the season. It's also time to stop wasting a roster spot on players that have continued to let you down.

Before we can get ready for Week 7, lineups need to be set, decisions need to be made and let's take a look at how last week's predictions fared.

Start ‘Em

QB: Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars: 163 Passing YDS, 1 INT, 4.6 PTS
RB: Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions: 34 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 2 Receptions, 27 Receiving YDS, 14.1 PTS
WR: D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers: 7 Receptions, 73 Receiving YDS, 13 Rushing YDS, 15.6 PTS
TE: Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams: 2 Receptions, 9 Receiving YDS, 2.9 PTS

Sit 'Em

QB: Jimmy Garrapolo, San Francisco 49ers: 243 Passing YDS, 1 INT, 1 Fumble, 4 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 12.1 PTS
RB: Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers: 18 Rushing YDS, 3 Receptions, 30 Receiving YDS, 7.7 PTS
WR: Robby Anderson, New York Jets: 5 Receptions, 125 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 23.5 PTS
TE: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: 3 Receptions, 36 Receiving YDS, 6.6 PTS

Week 1: 5/8

Week 2: 6/8

Week 3: 4/8

Week 4: 6/8

Week 5: 4/8

Week 6: 2/8 

Start 'Em

QB: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Opponent: at Falcons


The Rams travel to Atlanta in Week 7 hoping to bounce-back after a terrible performance on Sunday at home at the hands of the 49ers. Goff was especially bad, completing only 13 of 24 passes for just 78 yards and a fumble. This week’s matchup gives him the chance to bounce back. The Falcons have been a disaster in 2019 after beginning the season with high expectations and despite Matt Ryan’s solid play, the defense has been atrocious. The Falcons’ defense has allowed the third-most fantasy QB points per game thus far, and the Rams will be locked and loaded and ready to capitalize.

RB: Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers
Opponent: at Redskins


Kyle Shanahan and the unbeaten 49ers make a pit stop in the nation’s capital on Sunday and their dominant ground attack should continue to roll through every opponent in their path. Tevin Coleman is finally healthy and has been a welcome sight and will look to continue against Washington.

WR: Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
Opponent: vs. Eagles


With Amari Cooper not at 100% after suffering an injury against the Jets in Week 6, Michael Gallup will assume a larger target share regardless if Cooper is active or not against the Eagles. It couldn’t come at a more opportune time for fantasy managers who can slip him right into all lineups against a horrid Eagles secondary that gave up four touchdowns to the Vikings on Sunday as well as over 200 yards through the air. Gallup is a solid WR2 for the Sunday Night Football matchup with top-10 upside.

TE: Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
Opponent: vs. Dolphins


The Bills come off of a Week 6 bye to host the Dolphins in Buffalo. With John Brown questionable for the matchup, the only other Bills pass-catcher I have confidence is Dawson Knox, who has shown flashes throughout the season but hasn’t had the opportunity or usage to capitalize on. This matchup provides that opportunity. 
 
Sit 'Em

QB: Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
Opponent: at Titans


The Chargers had playoff intentions before the start of the season. At Week 7, they’ll be luck to sniff .500 at 8-8 if all goes well from here on out. Injuries have decimated the club. Star second-year safety Derwin James suffered a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal in his foot before Week 1 and underwent surgery and was placed on IR and isn’t able to return until Week 9. 

Melvin Gordon returned from his holdout but hasn’t shed the rust. Keenan Allen came out blazing but has regressed of late. Philip Rivers can’t be the deciding factor in whether the team wins or loses, and going up against a stout Titans defense, he needs to be on your bench. 

RB: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
Opponent: vs. Saints


The Bears come off their bye in Week 7 to host Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints defense has been exceptional thus far at containing the run, allowing the sixth fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. The Bears' David Montgomery hasn't gotten off to the start most anticipated and this won't be the week he gets going.

WR: Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins
Opponent: vs. 49ers


The Redskins’ rookie phenom has been electric through the first six games of 2019 but faces one of the best pass defenses in football when the Burgundy and Gold host the 49ers. The San Francisco defense held Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp to seven receptions and 35 receiving yards combined in Week 6 and held Odell Beckham Jr. to just two receptions for 27 yards the week prior. Curb your expectations for McLaurin on Sunday afternoon. 

TE: Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
Opponent: vs. Texans


The Colts come off of their bye with a matchup against the red-hot Houston Texans. For the Colts, the only viable pass catching option for Frank Reich should be T.Y. Hilton. With Andrew Luck retired, the offense has pumped out a few victories but the team hasn’t been utilizing the tight end as much as last season. Through 6 weeks, Jack Doyle has only posted 14 receptions for 128 yards, which is well below what you need from a viable tight end to win your matchup. Greener pastures await for Doyle, but it would be best to find another option in Week 7.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback Rankings: Week 7
Running Back Rankings: Week 7
Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 7
Tight End Rankings: Week 7