Redskins

Gap widens between Broncos, Raiders

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Gap widens between Broncos, Raiders

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Just a year ago, Denver and Oakland went to the end of the season in the race for the AFC West title, with the Broncos edging the Raiders for first place on the final day by winning a three-team tiebreaker with San Diego.

Now the teams couldn't be further apart.

The Broncos (9-3) are riding a seven-game winning streak into Thursday night's game in Oakland having already wrapped up the division title. They are spending the last month worried about playoff positioning and staying healthy for the postseason.

The Raiders (3-9) have lost five straight and have been eliminated from playoff contention for a 10th straight season as the franchise has regressed in the first year of the new regime led by general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen.

``It's definitely disappointing. Coming into the season, we had a new GM, had a new coaching staff and it felt like the sky was the limit, but for some reason - obviously, we had a lot of injuries - but for some reason, we haven't been on the same page the whole season,'' defensive back Michael Huff said. ``The defense has had their struggles, the offense has their struggles at times, special teams had their struggles at time. It's like we haven't just put that complete game together yet. We're just trying to figure it out and find that perfect game.''

The Broncos figured it out quickly after going 8-8 last year in their first season under front office boss John Elway and coach John Fox. The biggest change came when they acquired quarterback Peyton Manning to replace pedestrian passer Tim Tebow.

But nearly 20 other players acquired since Elway took over the football operations have started games this season, including standout defensive star Von Miller, who has 26 1/2 sacks in less than two seasons.

``It's been a lot of hard work by a lot of people whether it's personnel department, the coaching staff, the players in the locker room,'' Fox said. ``As far as the offseason I know a lot was made of Peyton Manning but we had a lot of other guys that have been big contributors to this football team as well. But, you know, anything worth a darn takes time to build and so we just in year two of that process.''

The acquisition accelerated it. He has come back from a neck injury that sidelined him all last season to set a Denver record with 29 touchdown passes.

The addition of a dangerous passing game to complement a strong defense led by pass rushers Miller and Elvis Dumervil and a solid running game have made the Broncos legitimate contenders in the AFC.

They clinched the division last week and are tied with New England and Baltimore for second place in the conference and a first-round playoff bye.

``I think our team realizes what a unique opportunity we have and we are trying to take advantage of it,'' Manning said. ``Those are the kind of guys you want to be around.''

It might be natural for the Broncos to overlook the struggling Raiders team that hasn't led a game at any point the past four weeks, especially with a potentially key playoff positioning game the following week in Baltimore.

But with big-play running back Darren McFadden expected to return and the intensity of a division rivalry, Fox has preached all week to his players to avoid that trap.

``You can't look at their record; you've got to look at their film,'' safety Rahim Moore said. ``They have big-time playmakers. They have speed all over the field, a great running back in Darren McFadden. ... Even though this is a team that's shuffling on paper, that doesn't mean they can't make plays. Just because we've been winning doesn't mean they're going to give us a victory. They're going to come play us hard. It's the NFL. Don't ever take anybody lightly in anything you do.''

The Raiders will be playing the game with heavy hearts. Allen, the defensive coordinator in Denver last season, has been away from the team all week because the death of his father, Grady.

The players have talked about rallying behind their coach this week. They are searching for any kind of motivation after all their real goals disappeared during the five-game losing streak.

``You just play for pride,'' Huff said. ``We don't want to go out there and get embarrassed Thursday night. Our family, friends, high school coaches, little league coaches, everybody will be watching us. If you don't want to not get embarrassed you shouldn't be playing this game.''

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AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton in Englewood, Colo., contributed to this report

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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

After a fight-filled start to joint practices between the Redskins and Jets, the Skins' 2018 NFL preseason schedule continues Thursday night at Fed Ex Field against New York. 

Week 2 of the NFL preseason still doesn't provide a lot of answers to questions about team performance, but it begins to reveal the depth the Redskins could have this season.

One storyline that won't be taking place, is the return of former Redskin Terrelle Pryor, who told reporters after Monday's practice he won't be playing in the game.

The Redskins have bigger things to worry about though, like who will replace rookie Derrius Guice, who's now out for the year with a torn ACL.

The Redskins also have one less name in the fight for receiver depth as well, after Robert Davis suffered a season-ending leg injury as well. 

Ahead of Thursday's preseason matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.

REDSKINS vs. JETS, PRESEASON WEEK 2

Who: Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets

What: Game 2 of the 2018 NFL Preseason

When: Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fed Ex Field, Landover, MD

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Washington, -3

Over/Under: 39.5

Weather: 90 degrees, partly cloudy

REDSKINS vs. PATRIOTS TV SCHEDULE:

5:00 PM: Redskins 100
5:30 PM: Redskins Nation
6:00 PM: Best of the Sports Junkies
7:00 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live

REDSKINS 2018 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (L, 26-17)

Week 2: Thurs., 8/16, vs. New York Jets, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 3: Fri., 8/24, vs. Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m. 

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

 

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You can see why players get along with Jay Gruden so well in these Mic'd Up segments

You can see why players get along with Jay Gruden so well in these Mic'd Up segments

Most coaches would've let it go. In fact, plenty wouldn't have even noticed. But Jay Gruden couldn't resist.

He just had to get on Quinton Dunbar for his cutoff practice pants.

"The pants gotta be over the knees, didn't you see the uniform code violation?" Gruden barked at Dunbar while mic'd up in Richmond (the first full segment is above). "He's the least swag guy you guys got on defense and I'm just trying to help him out," he later told Deshazor Everett when Everett tried to stand up for Dunbar.

Numerous players bring up how easy Gruden is to get along with when they're prompted to evalute the 'Skins' fifth-year headman. And over the course of just one training camp session, there were a handful of examples backing that up.

There's Gruden telling Jamison Crowder to cheer up ("You always look so grouchy all the time, man"). He then hops over to check in on Morgan Moses, who just added a new baby to his family, before predicting the right tackle will end up with enough kids to fill up two starting offensive lines. 

He even gets along with former members of his team; in Part 2 of his Mic'd Up, he strolls up to now-Jet Spencer Long, quizzes him on New York's offense and then hits Long with, "Ours is better, right?"

Now's the time a certain amount of you especially angry Internet users will starting typing your HE SHOULD STOP JOKING AROUND, YOU SEE BELICHICK DOING THIS CRAP? comments. And, of course, being friendly has no influence on winning in the NFL.

But every person with a job knows that it's much easier to work with a boss that you enjoy being around as opposed to one you try to avoid being around at all costs. You can point to certain areas where Gruden needs to improve, but the fact that he treats each player — from established star to offseason longshot — equally is one place he's excellent in.

Another place he's excellent in? Rightfully calling out those who are wearing pants that are far too short.

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