Redskins

Injured Matt Barkley isn't sorry he stayed at USC

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Injured Matt Barkley isn't sorry he stayed at USC

LOS ANGELES (AP) Whenever Matt Barkley thought about his final run down the Coliseum tunnel, the Southern California quarterback never imagined doing it with no helmet, no pads - and his throwing arm in a sling.

Instead of facing Notre Dame for a shot at a national championship, the Trojans' star quarterback is sidelined with a sprained shoulder. Instead of playing for the nation's No. 1 team, Barkley's unranked teammates are playing against it.

If this is his storybook ending, Barkley would like to fire the author.

Yet a month of disappointment and discouragement culminating in an injured shoulder still isn't enough to shake Barkley's faith in his decision to return for one more season in the only uniform he ever dreamed of wearing.

``I took a chance,'' Barkley said Tuesday while a black sling supported his arm. ``I don't think enough guys really go for it enough these days, and I did.''

Barkley will watch the Trojans' regular-season finale Saturday from the sideline after getting hurt on a sack in last week in USC's loss to UCLA. He doesn't know whether he'll recover in time to play in the Trojans' bowl game, although coach Lane Kiffin is optimistic.

Optimism still isn't difficult to find at USC, even after three losses in four games - and that's mostly due to Barkley's leadership. The Trojans (7-4, 5-4 Pac-12) plummeted out of the Top 25 after starting the season at No. 1, yet the furor over their performance is mostly confined to their fans and college football pundits.

Barkley and the Trojans thought they had a shot at the Heisman Trophy and the national title. They'll get neither, yet they're still having fun.

``It didn't turn out the way I planned,'' Barkley said. ``But I think over these last four years, and especially this year, I've learned so much. (I've) grown, matured a lot since last year I really think, and that will prepare me for the next level and for later in life. I don't regret it one bit.''

With the perspective of time, Barkley knows he'll feel even better about his achievements during his four seasons at USC. He rewrote the conference record book during a USC-record 47 starts over four seasons, becoming the Pac-12's leader in touchdown passes, yards passing, completions and total offense.

And Barkley looms as an important leader in USC's history, representing his teammates as their spokesman when the program was leveled by NCAA sanctions in 2010. He never wavered in his commitment during a two-year bowl ban, standing up for the school that first captured his imagination as a kid growing up in Orange County.

``I can't feel worse for a family and for a kid,'' Kiffin said. ``The fact that he's not running down that tunnel in his last game, and now two times in a row he doesn't get to play Notre Dame, it's very unfortunate. We feel as bad as we can, but he'll be stronger for it. He'll come out of this thing, and we're going to go out and play great for him.''

Kiffin had lobbied Barkley to stay at USC for his senior year since shortly after he took the job in 2010, and the former Oakland Raiders coach has consciously attempted to prepare Barkley for the NFL throughout his final two seasons. Kiffin is taking it a step further this week: While redshirt freshman Max Wittek studies defenses in preparation for his first career start, Barkley is attending game-planning meetings with Kiffin's coaching staff.

``Matt has been in some of our coaching meetings as far as preparation, how we break down the defense as coordinators and the different personnel, and how we attack everything,'' Kiffin said. ``(We) just thought that would be good for him in a time that there's not much for him to do, to help prepare him on how to prepare for the next level.''

Wittek and fellow freshman backup Cody Kessler have praised Barkley's generosity and instruction. The senior plans to be in Wittek's ear on the sideline with encouragement and instruction while facing the Irish's imposing defense.

Barkley should know soon whether he can play in his first postseason game since the 2009 Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. He's more focused on trying to finish a low season on a high note, even if he has to celebrate on the sideline.

``We're in a hungry mood right now to get a win, and I think it'll send us into December feeling great,'' Barkley said. ``Nothing is always as it's supposed to be in life. Sometimes things go as planned, but a lot of the times, things go unaccording to plan. So it's just something you have to deal with, and I'll handle it and stay positive.''

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One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

The Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. While his record at Ohio State was impressive, Haskins didn't log many starts. 

Washington head coach Jay Gruden talked about Haskins back in March during the league meetings, before the Burgundy and Gold drafted the quarterback, and said that because he played just one year in college he would need significant time to learn the NFL game. 

"You would like a guy to play more than a year to see how he’s developed over the years. Haskins has a unique skillset. He’s big, strong and can really throw it," Gruden said. Then, "Is he going to be ready for the first year?"

After OTAs and minicamp, it's obvious Haskins has all the talent needed to play quarterback in the NFL. He's made touch throws and he's rifled balls into tight windows. At the same time, he seemed confused in spots about play calls and struggled with the speed of the pass rush. 

All of that is normal for a player with just 14 starts. But it's that number, the one year of starting experience in college, that makes one statistic stand out about Haskins. 

That's some serious company, both good, bad and ugly. 

As a rookie in 2011, Cam Newton went 6-10 with 35 total TDs and 17 interceptions, not to mention a Rookie of the Year trophy. His running prowess made up for average numbers in the pass game. The more important comparison for Redskins fans is that Newton eventually developed into an NFL MVP and got the Panthers to the Super Bowl. 

For Mark Sanchez, the rookie numbers and the career comparison aren't as kind. Sanchez threw 12 TDs and 20 INTs in 15 games as a rookie, though he was at the helm as the Jets got to two straight AFC title games. Still, for his career, Sanchez threw more INTs than TDs and could not keep a starting job after his rookie contract. 

Trubisky is a different deal. He's only started 26 games since being the second overall pick in the 2017 draft with a record of 15-11. He's thrown 31 touchdowns against 19 interceptions, and run for another five scores. It's hard to describe Trubisky's game. At times he's terribly inaccurate, but in other spots, he looks like a future Pro Bowler. 

Newton is the sure thing, Sanchez is the poor outcome. Trubisky is still to be determined. 

For Haskins, it's not good company or bad company. With only 14 starts at Ohio State before the Redskins drafted Haskins, it's just the company he's in.

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Tomas Satoransky set to enter unpredictable free agent market for point guards

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Tomas Satoransky set to enter unpredictable free agent market for point guards

Of the Wizards' players set to hit free agency on June 30, one who has a good chance to return is point guard Tomas Satoransky. He and center Thomas Bryant are atop the team's priority list with Bobby Portis likely too expensive and Jabari Parker set to enter the market unrestricted.

Satoransky will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Wizards can match any offers made by other teams. And in talking to members of the Wizards' coaching staff and front office, they speak of Satoransky like he is part of their future.

Still, nothing can be assumed and especially in a year in which many teams have money to spend. As Kevin O'Connor of the Ringer noted this week, there is more cap room available this summer than the previous two combined. That could lead to 2016-level contracts where role players get paid like starters and average starters get paid like stars.

What will make Satoransky's market interesting, though, is the fact there are some much bigger names available at his position. At point guard, teams with the most money can go after All-Stars like Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving and D'Angelo Russell. There is then a robust second tier that includes Malcolm Brogdon, Terry Rozier and Ricky Rubio. Then you have Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, Patrick Beverley, Darren Collison and Rajon Rondo.

It is a great year to be a free agent, but maybe not the best year to be a free agent point guard. The position class is absolutely loaded.

Satoransky, though, will still draw plenty of interest and among the teams expected to check in on him are the Mavericks, Pacers, Magic and Celtics, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Celtics have already been tied to Satoransky by Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. But they also have their sights set on some of the bigger fish at point guard with rumors linking them to Walker, in particular.

The Utah Jazz were also set to pursue Satoransky, but their trade for Mike Conley Jr. has taken them off the list. The Phoenix Suns could also emerge as a suitor, though they are being linked to higher profile free agents at this point.

Both the Wizards and Satoransky expressed interest in a contract extension midway through the 2018-19 season, as NBC Sports Washington reported, but those talks didn't get much further. The Wizards ended up putting a lot of things on hold once they drifted out of the playoff race and ultimately fired team president Ernie Grunfeld.

With senior vice president Tommy Sheppard serving in the interim, though, Satoransky has a big proponent calling the shots in the Wizards front office. Sheppard scouted Satoransky before the Wizards drafted him and was key in convincing him to leave Europe for the NBA.

Satoransky likes playing in Washington and recognizes an opportunity at point guard with John Wall set to miss most of next season due to Achilles surgery. But he also recognizes this as a chance to earn the biggest payday of his career.

How much money Satoransky will ultimately receive is hard to predict. Those in his camp are apprehensive to throw numbers out there because even they aren't sure.

One potential comparison could be Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who makes just over $9 million per year. Though VanVleet is arguably better, Satoransky is hitting the market with more money to go around. 

Many have tried to project Satoransky's market in the past few months. Soon we will find out just how valuable he is.

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