Capitals

FSU's Werner ready for Orange Bowl challenge

FSU's Werner ready for Orange Bowl challenge

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) Bjoern Werner is rare.

The Florida State star defensive end is a married college student, already going on three years of wedded bliss. He's a German-born All-American. He ended the regular season with 13 sacks, second-most in the nation.

To think his story started in Berlin, thanks to a long-lost friend named Mirko and some ``weird guys'' at his school who were tossing a football around.

``And I played Madden,'' he said, referring to the popular video game.

He might be in next year's version of Madden, at this rate. Werner and the Seminoles face Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl on Tuesday night, and it's widely believed that this will be his last college game. He knows whether or not he'll soon be declaring a year early for the NFL draft, saying Saturday that he and his wife have made their decision.

That is, unless the decision gets revisited.

``If her mind changes,'' Werner said, ``mine might change, too.''

Florida State's opponents for next season surely won't mind if Werner decides to head to the NFL soon after his rapid rise. His introduction to the game was basically flag football in his native country after he got too big to keep playing ``futbol.'' Werner decided to give this game a shot after seeing some schoolmates throwing a ball instead of kicking one.

He's lost touch with them all.

So they might not even know how they helped him begin a journey that seems pointed toward NFL riches.

``This is everything I could dream right now, all this hype and not just about me individually,'' Werner said. ``I'm so happy that we're in the Orange Bowl. This was my goal to be on the big stage; that's why I came to Florida State. I'm so happy that we are here. Hopefully we can leave this thing with a win.''

If they do - and the Seminoles are two-touchdown favorites - it would be Florida State's first 12-win season since 1999.

Werner is a huge reason for that success.

The Seminoles allow an average of 15.1 points, sixth-best in the nation. At 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, he has more sacks this season than he had in his first two years of college combined - and did so while facing a steady stream of double-teams that typically didn't do enough to slow him down.

``You have certain players that you can give them a certain amount of information, but they can only apply so much, so you have to be careful on who and what you give to certain players,'' said Florida State defensive coach D.J. Eliot, who is joining Kentucky's staff after the bowl. ``But Bjoern is one of those players that he can take in anything you give him. You know what I mean? And he can apply it in the game.

``So he never ceases to amaze me on how much he can improve, and he's done that his whole career.''

Which, frankly, didn't start all that long ago.

Werner started playing flag football in his native Berlin, then went to prep school in Salisbury, Conn., after realizing he had tons of natural skill. When colleges came recruiting, they took a look at his size and told him he'd be better suited at defensive tackle or offensive line or tight end. Werner didn't like any of those options.

Florida State coaches saw him play basketball, noted his athleticism and said he could play defensive end.

Smart move.

``It's fun catching the ball,'' Werner said. ``But you can't let loose like that.''

When he lets loose Tuesday, he'll likely have Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch in mind.

Lynch entered the weekend 38th nationally in yards passing this season and third nationally in yards rushing - his total of 1,771 in that department being 500 more than any other quarterback in the country.

Chances are, if they meet during the Orange Bowl, it'll be at high speed.

``The guy has a motor,'' Lynch said. ``That's the biggest thing that stands out. He never takes a play off. He's always going at it. Sometimes he'll get cut-blocked. He'll get right back up and make a tackle. It's pretty impressive. He'll run sideline to sideline and chase guys down. He's probably one of the most complete football players we'll play against.''

Werner said he would wait a few days after the Orange Bowl to announce his decision about next season, though it would count as a massive surprise - especially since the Seminoles will have a new defensive coordinator in 2013 - if he stuck around.

He has big plans to help the American version of football grow in Germany, eventually. He thought it was funny that his likeness adorned some buses that were decorated in Florida State colors and roaming the roads of South Florida in recent days to promote the bowl game. And even though some say he's a top-five draft pick, Werner would rather tell you about what he still has to work on than what his strengths are.

``I worked hard,'' Werner said. ``It paid off.''

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Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Coming off of the adrenaline-pumping 5-1 win over the Sharks on Thursday, the Capitals (32-19-7) will face off against the Anaheim Ducks (22-27-9) Sunday evening. The Capitals hope to maintain their energy with a win over the Ducks, the second-worst team in the Pacific Division.
 
The Ducks broke a seven-game losing streak (which began towards the end of January) to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, but lost again to the Boston Bruins on Friday. The Ducks are seventh in the Pacific Division, only slightly above the Los Angeles Kings.


Here is everything you need to know about the Sunday night, which takes place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


CAPITALS at DUCKS HOW TO WATCH


What: Washington Capitals at Anaheim Ducks, Game 59 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
When: 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Capitals at Ducks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Ducks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at DUCKS TV SCHEDULE


8 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
8:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
9 PM: Capitals at Ducks
11:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
12 AM: Caps Overtime Live


CAPITALS at DUCKS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
No injuries to report.

Ducks: 
Ryan Miller -- knee injury as of Feb. 15. 
Nick Ritchie -- illness as of Feb. 15.
Chad Johnson -- head injury as of Feb. 13. 
John Gibson -- back, neck and head injuries as of Feb. 8. 
Patrick Eaves -- flu-like symptoms as of Feb. 7. 
Ondrej Kase -- torn labrum in his right shoulder as of Jan. 18. 

CAPITALS at DUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (39 goals, 27 assists, 66 points): Ovechkin is the leading goal scorer in the NHL. In the Caps’ last game against the Sharks, the team captain contributed one goal and one assist in the team’s blowout 5-1 win.

T.J. Oshie, F, Capitals (18 goals, 18 assists, 36 points): Oshie scored his 500th career point in his second goal against the Sharks on Thursday. He’s been a key player on the ice this February, scoring three goals and contributing with five assists. 

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS SERIES HISTORY


Number of all-time Meetings: 36
All-Time Series Record: Ducks lead 18-17-1
Last Meeting: Ducks win 6-5 (12/2/18)

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Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Another day, another favorite in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.

It’s not a completely new team this time around, but former baseball executive and current analyst Jim Bowden feels pretty confident in the Philadelphia Phillies landing the services of the star outfielder.

“I keep hearing there’s a lot of momentum and traction here on him going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies,” Bowden shared on CBS Sports HQ. “And he could be rounding third and heading home shortly.”

Bowden appeared on the program to help react to the most recent betting odds on Harper, specifically those that have the San Francisco Giants as the clear favorites. Bowden disagrees with that projection, especially considering the length of the offers involved. 

It’s clear the Giants are hoping to sign Harper to a short term deal, but the former Nationals general manager is convinced the outfielder will end up getting a significantly longer deal.

10 years, $300 million is of course the terms of the deal the Nationals reportedly offered Harper months ago as the offseason was getting underway, so if he’s been holding out for a better contract then the Phillies may be forced to top it.

One point Bowden made during the interview was how badly Harper wants to win “right now.” The Giants, Padres, and White Sox don’t appear ready to truly compete for another few seasons, which is why he so emphatically endorses Philadelphia or Washington as the ultimate destination. 

The Phillies and Nats look like the only two competitors who can feasibly win the World Series as early as 2019, and if that’s truly important to Harper, it helps weed out the competition.

Of course, as with the litany of Bryce Harper rumors we’ve heard all winter long, this comes with a baseball-sized grain of salt. 

Various teams have taken turns atop the leaderboard when it comes to guessing where Harper will end up, and while the Phillies are probably the most consistent favorite of the offseason, there’s obviously a reason why they and/or Harper have yet to pull the trigger on a deal. 

The fit seems clear, and the money is there, but for now, Harper is still unemployed, which means every team still has an opportunity to wow him with an offer. It wouldn’t too be surprising if he ultimately ends up in Philadelphia, and if Jim Bowden is to be believed, that news could be coming sooner rather than later.

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