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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Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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Need to Know: Redskins stock up-stock down during vs. Panthers

Need to Know: Redskins stock up-stock down during vs. Panthers

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 15, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Talking points

Here are the players who saw their stock go up against the Panthers on Sunday and others who saw their stocks drop. 

Stock up—A few days ago, CB Josh Norman was a penny stock. He had mixed up assignments in the blowout loss to the Saints and take a ton of criticism after the game, much of it warranted. During the Panthers game, he was a blue chip. Norman got his first interception in 20 games and he forced a fumble. There is still a lot of season to be played but for now, at least it’s good to be Josh Norman.

Stock down—They won the game and that’s the quarterback’s main job. But for the second straight game, Alex Smith did not play up to his $18.4 million cap number. He passed for 163 yards. At times you really wondered where he was throwing the ball and/or to whom he was throwing it. They were able to win thanks to Adrian Peterson’s rushing and three takeaways. To Smith’s credit, he protected the ball well and it should be noted he was without favorite targets, Chris Thompson and Jamison Crowder. Regardless, it was not a sharp performance by Smith. 

Stock upPeterson came into the game with an injured ankle, knee, and shoulder. Not only did he fight through the pain, he thrived. Six days after he rushed for just six yards against the Saints and sat out most of the second half, he picked up 97 yards on 17 carries, an average of 5.7 yards per carry. Peterson did rip off a 19-yard run but mostly it was three yards here, six yards there. It was what the Redskins were expecting when the signed him. 

Stock down—With Thompson out, Kapri Bibbs had his big chance to show what he can do. He didn’t do much. Bibbs, who was promoted from the practice squad earlier this season, picked up 11 yards rushing on two carries and he caught one pass for six yards. There were some high hopes for Bibbs among Redskins fans. For today, he didn’t live up to them. 

Stock up—I know that Daron Payne didn’t make a ton of plays and his streak of games with at least one sack ended at two. But he was part of a defensive front that held Christian McCaffrey, who came into the game averaging 82.3 rushing yards per game (fourth in the NFL) and 5.2 yards per attempt, to 20 yards on eight attempts, a 2.5 per carry average. And he made a remarkable play, which is becoming routine for him, when he made the tackle on a tight end who had taken a screen pass well outside of the numbers. He’s a special talent and his stock will continue to rise. 

The agenda

Today: Open locker room 11:30; Jay Gruden press conference 3:00 

Upcoming: Cowboys @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Giants 13; Redskins @ Eagles 49

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

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What Adrian Peterson did on Sunday really is absurd

What Adrian Peterson did on Sunday really is absurd

FEDEX FIELD -- Coming into Sunday's game, the Redskins listed Adrian Peterson as questionable for the game against the Panthers. 

And why wouldn't they?

The future Hall of Famer separated his shoulder last week in a loss to the Saints. In that same game, he got blasted in the knee on a play that many thought would cost Peterson the season. And before the Redskins bye, in a 120-yard effort in a win over the Packers, Peterson took a helmet directly off his ankle. 

Calling AP banged up for the Panthers game is unfair to banged up players. 

Peterson was hurt, from top to bottom. 

Yet, despite the injuries, he still went out and rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries, good for a 5.7 yards-per-carry average. 

"I had already made up in my mind Friday, 'Hey, I'm going to give it a go,' and I know it's going to be painful but it's mind over matter and keep pressing," Peterson said following the 23-17 Redskins win. 

"So that's what I ended up doing."

In a remarkable endeavor, Peterson was the most consistent player on the offense. Alex Smith played fine but not necessarily good.

The Redskins offense needs more from Smith, but couldn't even ask for anything else from Peterson. 

"I can't say enough about what he did today, playing through the pain of the shoulder and the knee," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of Peterson. "What a pro. What a pro he is."

In the second half, when the Redskins pass game really fell apart, Washington leaned on Peterson even more. It wasn't pretty, but the team got enough to eat up possession and pad the lead with field goals. 

"Adrian Peterson ran hard," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. "I think he created the opportunity for them down the stretch to control the clock a little bit."

Rivera is right. 

Without Peterson, the Redskins probably don't win on Sunday. 

And it's even more remarkable that none of this was supposed to happen. The Redskins seemed reluctant to even give Peterson a tryout after rookie Derrius Guice went down in the preseason. Guice was the plan, and Peterson wasn't even really the backup.

Back then, Gruden explained that Peterson was simply too impressive in his August workout for the team to do anything but sign him to the active roster. 

Now, five games into the season, averaging well more than 4 yards-per-carry and on pace to lead the Redskins in rush yards, it's hard to imagine what Washington's offense would look like without Peterson. 

Sure, he's 33-years-old, but he's also the Redskins most consistent offensive threat. 

Asked what surprised him during his team's loss, Rivera inadvertently summed up the Peterson experience.

"I don't think there was anything surprising. They're a good football team. They run the ball extremely well with Adrian."

Rivera is right.

The Redskins run the ball extremely well with Peterson.

Even with the separated shoulder, the busted knee, the bruised ankle. On Sunday, the Redskins ran the ball extremely well with Peterson.

And that says a lot about Adrian Peterson. 

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