Redskins

Huskies hold off Western Washington 88-78

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Huskies hold off Western Washington 88-78

SEATTLE (AP) Playing an exhibition more than two weeks before the start of the regular season, Washington got the challenge it hoped for from Division II Western Washington.

And maybe a bit more of a contest than the Huskies expected.

C.J. Wilcox scored 21 points, Andrew Andrews and Abdul Gaddy each added 14, and Washington held off the defending Division II national champion Vikings 88-78 on Wednesday night.

``First game is always kind of off, a little bit nervous every time you play your first game,'' Wilcox said. ``There were a lot of expectations about what this team was going to be but I thought we came out here and got to see where we were at which is good and what we need to work on.''

The Huskies' lone exhibition game before beginning the regular season Nov. 11 became a major headache because the Vikings would not go away. Down by 10 early in the second half, Western Washington pulled even on three occasions in the final 10 minutes and had possessions with the chance to take the lead but could never pull in front.

Consecutive steals and dunks by Jernard Jarreau and Wilcox in the final 2 minutes gave Washington an 11-point lead and finally some cushion.

John Allen and Chris Mitchell led the Vikings with 17 points each. The matchup with Washington was just the precursor to Saturday when Western Washington travels to Durham, N.C., to face Duke.

Paul Jones added 15 for the Vikings, who returned three starters off last season's team that won the first national title in school history.

``I think we were excited for the entire first half for the environment and not really focusing in on what we're supposed to do,'' WWU coach Tony Dominguez said.

Washington took a 10-point lead with 16:43 left, only to see the Vikings respond with a 13-4 run. Allen and Mitchell started the spurt with consecutive 3s and Mitchell capped the run with a left-handed, line-drive bank shot in the lane to cut the Huskies' lead to 59-58 with 13:24 left.

Rico Wilkins later scored five straight points for the Vikings and Austin Bragg's rebound follow with 9:58 left pulled the Vikings even at 65-65. Three times during the next 2 minutes, the Vikings had open looks at 3-pointers with the chance to take the lead but couldn't connect and Aziz N'Diaye's hook in the lane gave Washington a 69-67 lead with 7:23 left.

Jones scored to pull the Vikings back even at 69, but a pair of free throws by Gaddy and a 3 from Wilcox gave the Huskies a 74-69 lead. Jones' three-point play pulled the Vikings within two, but Washington ran off 12 of the next 15 points to put away the Vikings.

Scott Suggs added 13 for Washington.

The exhibition was the debut of the Huskies' new high-post offense. After years of using its athleticism to run a highly successful motion offense, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar wanted a more stable system to run based around his personnel not only this season but in the future.

At times it was awkward and clunky. When Washington ran it efficiently, the Huskies got the shots they wanted, either on screens to the giving a path to the basket or open jumpers from the perimeter. Washington shot 52 percent in the first half and also made its way to the free-throw line plenty, outscoring Western 32-14 at the line.

``I thought our guys did a pretty good job running it. I thought we got some pretty good looks at the basket,'' Romar said. ``... I our guys did a pretty good. I thought we ran it pretty well for an exhibition game.''

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

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Associated Press

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used to hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” Gibbs said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go to Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 


Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

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