Redskins

FSU, Georgia Tech must move past rivalry losses

201211241920696103071-p2.jpeg

FSU, Georgia Tech must move past rivalry losses

ATLANTA (AP) Jimbo Fisher said Sunday the team that wins the ACC championship may be the one that does the best job of moving past a crushing loss to its top in-state rival.

Florida State dropped three spots to No. 13 in Sunday's Associated Press Top 25 following a 37-26 loss to Florida. Fisher's Seminoles (10-2) play Georgia Tech, which must regroup following a lopsided 42-10 loss to Georgia, in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship on Saturday. The winner will play in the Orange Bowl.

Even with so much on the line, it's not easy to quickly recover from a loss in a state rivalry game.

``I don't think there's any doubt,'' Fisher said. ``They had a great rivalry game and we did too. You've got to be able to put it behind you quickly and go on. I think that is going to be a big factor, I don't think there's any doubt.''

It's an unlikely matchup. Georgia Tech is only 6-6 overall but won the Coastal Division with a 5-3 ACC record as Miami self-imposed a bowl ban for the second straight year as it hopes to lessen possible penalties from an ongoing NCAA investigation.

Miami, also 5-3 in the ACC, would have won a tie-breaker with Georgia Tech for the Coastal Division title if not for the self-imposed ban.

Fisher said the Seminoles will be without one of their top defensive players, senior defensive end Cornellius ``Tank'' Carradine, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Florida.

``He's sad. He's down,'' Fisher said. ``He can't be with his teammates.''

Carradine led the team with 80 tackles and was second with 11 sacks.

Fisher said he hasn't decided on a new starter. Options include freshmen Giorgio Newberry and Mario Edwards.

Carradine has been projected as a probable first-round pick in next year's NFL draft.

``The draft will still be fine,'' Fisher said. ``He'll go rehab and that won't affect those guys much at all, maybe a round at the most. ... It's not that big a deal to them anymore.''

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has lost four straight games to Georgia after beating the Bulldogs in his first season.

The Yellow Jackets, who have struggled on defense all season, have had to bounce back from other ugly losses this season, including a 49-28 loss to Middle Tennessee State which cost defensive coordinator Al Groh his job. Johnson said his defense may have hit a new low against Georgia, making it more difficult to regroup for the ACC championship game.

``You never know. You hope that we'll bounce back,'' Johnson said Sunday. ``We've got another great opportunity. I'm sure Florida State is fighting some of the same thing today following their game against Florida. It's unfortunate it happened like that, but we'll do the best we can to move on.''

Georgia Tech's normally productive spread-option offense was held to a season low in points by Georgia's defense, which stiffened near the red zone. The Yellow Jackets had 26 first downs and 426 yards but were held without a touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter.

``We haven't played very well defensively,'' Johnson said. ``There's no secret about that. The last game was probably as bad as we've played all year against Georgia, and they had a lot to do with that. They're a very good football team.''

Johnson said Florida State's defense is just as strong as Georgia's.

Johnson's first two words to describe the Seminoles were ``Speed. Athleticism.''

``I think they play hard,'' Johnson said. ``They play with an edge. They can run. They're very athletic on both sides of the ball. They're right there with (Georgia). Every bit as fast.''

Georgia Tech won its last four ACC games following a 1-3 start in the conference. After a 47-31 loss to Clemson on Oct. 6, Georgia Tech's only losses were to BYU and Georgia.

``The way our season started off in the league, it certainly didn't look too promising,'' Johnson said. ``But to our guys' credit, they won four in a row down the stretch.''

Those wins didn't come with good defense.

``I think we were able to outscore people, honestly, if you want to know the truth,'' Johnson said. ``The last four games we got far enough out in front of people and scored enough points to secure the games.''

Asked what he'd say to those who accuse Georgia Tech of backing into the ACC championship game, Johnson said ``Say whatever you want.

``You know, that's something that Miami decided to do. We had no control over it. The only thing we had control over was we were 5-3 in our division. It's not the first time a 5-3 team has gone to the championship game.''

Quick Links

With his rookie contract in rearview mirror, what's next for Redskins WR Jamison Crowder?

With his rookie contract in rearview mirror, what's next for Redskins WR Jamison Crowder?

ASHBURN — By now it's well-documented that the Washington Redskins' season did not go as planned, and you can say the same for fourth-year wide receiver Jamison Crowder.

Crowder, 25, was limited to just nine games due to a lingering ankle injury for most of the season, and then a separate late-December wrist injury. He finished the year with 29 catches for 388 yards, well off his career norms.

The Redskins have received plenty of production from Crowder (221 catches, 2,628 yards, 14 touchdowns) at a discounted price during his first few years in the NFL. That is about to change.

“I’m comfortable here,” Crowder said. “Obviously, I have a really high interest level in coming back. It’s going to be in discussion with my agent. There hasn’t really been much discussion as far as right now.”

Washington's 2015 fourth-round pick raced out of the gate in his NFL career setting a Redskins rookie record for receptions (59). Barring a contract extension in the next two months, Crowder will be free to sign with any team in March and there is no guarantee that he will return.

That would leave the Redskins even more desperate for proven options at wide receiver, arguably the most disappointing position on the team during a second straight 7-9 season.

Josh Doctson led Washington receivers with 44 receptions, the lowest total since 1998 when Michael Westbrook had a team-high 44 among the pack. Given that uncertainty at receiver, where Paul Richardson also missed most of the season with a shoulder injury, Crowder’s teammates want him back.

“Got to pay him,” running back Chris Thompson said. “I mean – that’s the business side of it. I really, really, really do hope that we can get him back. He’s been a key part of this offense since he’s been here. I’m excited for him. He’s really gonna help himself be in a better situation for him and his family and his kids and his future. He’s made a good resume for himself that he can make himself some really good money. I hope that it’s here.”

Crowder missed those seven games with a right ankle injury sustained in a Week 5 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He spent time in a walking boot. After three consecutive years of 59 catches or more, Crowder dropped to 29 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns.

“You want to keep the nucleus of the team together at all costs,” Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams said. “But it’s the NFL and it’s always easier said than done. I try not to get into the whole free agency deal because those guys got to make business decisions for them and their families.”

The Redskins could decide that slot receiver Trey Quinn, a seventh-round draft pick in 2018, could fill Crowder’s production at a much cheaper price and allow them to upgrade the position through the draft or free agency. But that will come at a risk.

Crowder has proven to be one of the league’s better slot receivers when healthy. Quinn was on IR twice with a high-ankle sprain as a rookie. Acknowledging that injuries to quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colt McCoy hurt the overall production of the group, can the Redskins really afford to let more talent leave the building at wide receiver?

Having completed the final year of his rookie contract, Crowder admitted the uncertainty of his future feels a little different.

"Yeah, I guess you could say it's a little weird. I just don't know, you know, what's going to happen right now. I just have to kind of wait and see what's going on."

Despite the unpredictable nature of Crowder's situation, he didn't mince his words on where his hopes lie going forward.

"I have a really high-interest level in coming back."

Brian McNally contributed to this story.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: 

 

Quick Links

Greg Manusky is back, but what about the rest of the Redskins coaching staff?

Greg Manusky is back, but what about the rest of the Redskins coaching staff?

The Redskins made some very public overtures to other defensive coordinator candidates, but on Wednesday news emerged that incumbent Greg Manusky would retain the job

That settles the biggest potential change in the Redskins coaching staff, as head coach Jay Gruden got word he would stay in his role a few weeks back

Washington's defensive performance didn't mandate that Manusky must go. In fact, this year's group played some of the best defense of any Redskins group for a while, at least early on. Things fell apart for the defense in the second half of the year, though. 

What is known is that Gruden and Manusky are back for 2019. What isn't will be what other changes happen. 

The Redskins already need a new special teams coordinator after Ben Kotwica took the same job with the Atlanta Falcons. That's one big hole. It could be filled by assistant special teams coach Bret Munsey, and some buzz has grown about Seahawks assistant special teams coach Larry Izzo as well. 

Elsewhere on the staff, there was speculation defensive backs coach Torrian Gray would be let go, but that hasn't happened. Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti got permission to speak with the Packers about the same job, Grant Paulsen reported

Two of the most experienced coaches on the staff might bring the biggest questions, as reports have shown that Bill Callahan and Jim Tomsula might be on their way out from Redskins Park. 

Losing either coach would be a major blow. Callahan is an intense presence around the facility and is disciplined in his approach to offensive line play. The Redskins run game could use some work though, and Callahan has deep connections with Zac Taylor, who's expected to be the Bengals next head coach. 

Tomsula might be the most beloved coach on the staff.

The Redskins' young defensive linemen speak glowingly of 'Jim Tom' and would hate to lose their leader. At the same time, the group recognizes Tomsula has been away from his family and might want to get closer to them in Florida. Manusky and Tomsula are good friends, and the decision to keep the defensive coordinator could help keep the defensive line coach. 

Stay tuned.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: