Redskins

ISU QB Richardson adjusts to being starter

ISU QB Richardson adjusts to being starter

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State's decision to play freshman quarterback Sam Richardson in the final two games of the regular season resulted in a win, a loss and a lot of hope for the future.

Now Richardson has the chance to grow some more.

Iowa State (6-6) earned a berth in the Liberty Bowl against Tulsa (10-3), giving Richardson more time to increase his familiarity with the rest of the starting offense.

The Cyclones say the experience from playing in a pair of games and working as the starter in practice is already paying off.

``The biggest thing, to be honest with you, is pocket presence,'' offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham said. ``Because how he's handled the offense, how he's interacted with the players has always been very mature, very much `I know what I'm doing.' But the thing that's changed is, now that he's had real live reps, is his ability to understand `I need to go run' or `I need to throw it away and not take a sack.'''

Richardson, a redshirt freshman who spent much of the year as the third stringer, led the Cyclones to touchdowns on four straight possessions in his first full quarter of playing time in a 51-23 win over Kansas on Nov. 17. That effort earned him his first and only start the following week against West Virginia.

Richardson completed just 13 of 31 passes in extremely blustery conditions, but he also racked up three TDs and no picks in a 31-24 loss. He's since been able to work with the rest of the starting offense more than he ever had before, and he said that experience has been ``tremendously'' positive.

``I've definitely molded my game to fit with the (starters) now and it's helped quite a bit,'' Richardson said.

The one thing the Cyclones would like to see more of is assertiveness.

The soft-spoken Richardson is still growing into his role as a leader. But coach Paul Rhoads said Sunday that he's seen Richardson make progress in that area during bowl preparation, and Richardson is doing his best to adopt a more assertive approach.

``It's just being confident in your play,'' he said. ``Sometimes back earlier in the year I might have gotten frustrated with myself. Now it's carrying yourself through those mistakes and carrying the offense as well.''

Iowa State has always thought highly of Richardson even when it wasn't ready to hand him the starting job. But the Cyclones are even more confident in him after watching him play in games, because he's shown a knack for making plays when it matters.

``To be honest, I don't see a big bit of difference. I don't mean that in a negative way,'' Rhoads said. ``I just mean that it's not like with one start and a lot of playing time in the other game and these extra reps he's bloomed into the next Dan Marino. He's doing a nice job, but he also did a nice job before. He just didn't do some of the little things that we needed him to do to hand it over to him.''

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Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

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Associated Press

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:

—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators. 

— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.

—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies. 

— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player. 

—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Scherff, and Ty Nsekhe. 

—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.

—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.

—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it. 

—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions. 

—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder. 

—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.

—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground. 

—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch. 

—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one. 

—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

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 @TandlerNBCS.

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

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USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.