Redskins

Jackson putting up career numbers with Buccaneers

Jackson putting up career numbers with Buccaneers

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) In what's been a roller coaster season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, receiver Vincent Jackson has been a model of consistency and quietly put together one of the best seasons of his career.

The ninth-year pro leads the Bucs with 69 receptions for 1,334 yards and eight touchdowns and has been everything the team envisioned they were getting when he signed a five-year, $55.55 million contract as a free agent after spending eight years with the San Diego Chargers.

Jackson had his fifth 100-yard game of the season during Sunday's 28-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams and has already set career bests for receptions and yards in a season. He had his first 200-yard game in a win over Kansas City, and he's averaging a NFL-best 19.3 yards per catch.

The Bucs (6-9) will take a five-game losing streak into Sunday's season finale at Atlanta. Quarterback Josh Freeman has struggled during the skid, yet primarily because of the impact Jackson has had on the Tampa Bay offense, the fourth-year pro only needs 157 yards against the Falcons to become the franchise's first 4,000-yard passer.

Jackson's contract was done in all 5's in honor of Freeman, who wears jersey No. 5. In addition to giving the Bucs the first legitimate deep threat in more than a decade, the 29-year-old has helped third-year receiver Mike Williams rebound from a subpar 2011.

``I couldn't be happier to be here,'' Jackson said, adding that it didn't take him long to decide to sign with the Bucs following a short conversation with first-year coach Greg Schiano when the free agency period began last March.

``It only took about five minutes. Learning his mentality, his approach to the game, what he saw my role to be, being leader kind of guy with my work ethic, just the way he wanted this organization to change,'' Jackson said. ``Not just the players but an entire organization, the city and way the league views this team. It's fun to play for a guy like that. Everybody in this locker room has bought into it.''

Williams had seven receptions for 132 yards and scored Tampa Bay's only touchdown on a 61-yard catch-and-run against the Rams. His production slipped a year ago following a standout rookie year, however he's benefited from Jackson's presence and enters Sunday's finale with 57 catches for career bests of 931 yards and 16.3 yards per reception.

``My role is to do what I've always done. ... Obviously, guys kind of feed off the things I do,'' Jackson said. ``I try to be a professional at all times. Just sharing knowledge. We call it being farmers. You can't grow good corn if your neighbors don't grow good corn. I want everybody around me to be successful.''

Rookie Doug Martin has rushed for 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns and is third in the league in total yards from scrimmage behind Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson.

Nevertheless, the Bucs will miss the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

Jackson, who had seven receptions for 108 yards, thinks the team is headed in the right direction.

A four-game winning streak helped the Bucs overcome a 1-3 start to climb back into contention for a postseason berth at 6-4. But mounting injuries, Freeman's inconsistency and a porous pass defense have taken their toll during their current skid.

There's been no letup in Jackson's game, though. He has 27 catches for 451 yards, including a pair of 100-yard performances, over the past five weeks to move within 69 yards of breaking Mark Carrier's 23-year-old franchise single-season record of 1,422 yards.

``I'm happy to contribute the way I have. I still think this offense has some things we haven't completely executed as well as we could have in all different areas,'' Jackson said.

``But we have great talent ... as far as offense goes. Tight ends, running backs, obviously Josh. For me to step in here, there's a lot of great tools around me that allow me to be successful,'' the 6-foot-5, 230-pound receiver added. ``For me, I just have to go out there, continue to work as hard as I work, have fun, enjoy it and we'll see how the season ends. Right now, it's about wins.''

Coaches and teammates rave about the receiver's work ethic and way he leads by example.

``He's been such an impact player for us. First by his performance on the field, plays he has made, the consistency, his professionalism, and the versatility,'' offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. ``There is a complete physical presence, a dominant physical presence. He's a leader, part of the solution. We're very fortunate to have him.''

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The case for - and against - the Redskins signing Colin Kaepernick

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USA Today Sports

The case for - and against - the Redskins signing Colin Kaepernick

Don't look in this space for an argument that the Redskins - who are reportedly signing Mark Sanchez as Colt McCoy's backup - should, or should not, sign Colin Kaepernick.

This space will lay out reasons why the Redskins should, and should not, consider signing Colin Kaepernick. 

It's not a binary decision. In fact, it's just about the opposite. 

Any debate about Kaepernick often gets bogged down in differing political view points. This is not the place for that. Rather, here is an attempt to make the case for or against Kaepernick from a football perspective. 

The case to sign Colin Kaepernick

  • The Redskins need a quarterback. Alex Smith broke his leg and Colt McCoy needs a backup. Of the available free agents out there, Kaepernick has by far the best stats and resume. As Chris Thompson explained of Kaepernick, "He made it to a Super Bowl." When he last played in 2016, Kaepernick had 16 TDs against just four INTs in 12 starts. 
  • Kaepernick has familiarity in the West Coast offense, and once backed up Alex Smith and played with Vernon Davis. 
  • Redskins QB coach and passing game coordinator Kevin O'Connell worked on the 49ers staff with Kaepernick.
  • Multiple Redskins players, including Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson, said that the Nike pitchman deserves another chance in the NFL. 

The case not to sign Colin Kaepernick

  • Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL for nearly two full seasons. He hasn't practiced in a professional setting for more than a year. The Redskins are competing for the NFC East title. If they have to go to a backup QB, they want somebody that is game ready. It's hard to think Kaepernick fits that bill today. 
  • Earlier this season, Redskins CB Josh Norman had some choice words for Kaepernick after Panthers safety Eric Reid spoke out against the NFL Player's Coalition. Norman is an active particpant and leader on the Player's Coalition, a social rights group that Kaepernick distanced himself from. Putting Norman and Kaepernick in the same locker room might create some friction for a first-place team. 
  • At 6-4, the Redskins are in first place in the NFC East and should still be able to win games with McCoy at quarterback. Regardless how one feels about Kaepernick's activism, it will create a side show for any organization that brings him in. Cable news outlets like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC will descend on the Washington locker room should Kaepernick get signed. 

 

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    Holtby is back, but Copley will start

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    Holtby is back, but Copley will start

    The Capitals take on the Montreal Canadiens to finish off a four-game road swing on Monday (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Washington has won two of its first three games on the trip and look to take win No. 3 in Montreal.

    Here are four things to watch:

    Braden Holtby is back, but Pheonix Copley will get the start

    The Caps reassigned Ilya Samsonov to the Hershey Bears on Monday signaling that Braden Holtby will be back in the lineup for Monday’s game, but Pheonix Copley will still get the start.

    Copley has been impressive on the road trip getting all three starts thus far with a .922 save percentage and 2.01 GAA. It says a lot that even with Holtby back, the Todd Reirden is still willing to put in Copley. Per Isabelle Khurshudyan, Reirden said he wanted to get Holtby back into his routine before starting him.

    No Oshie, no Kuznetsov

    T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov were both injured in Wednesday’s game and will be out of the lineup in Montreal.

    Here is a look at the lines from the morning skate:

    Alex Ovechkin – Lars Eller – Tom Wilson

    Jakub Vrana – Nicklas Backstrom – Andre Burakovsky

    Chandler Stephenson – Travis Boyd – Devante Smith-Pelly

    Dmitrij Jaskin – Nic Dowd – Brett Connolly

    Dmitry Orlov – John Carlson
    Michal Kempny – Matt Niskanen
    Christian Djoos – Madison Bowey

    It is important to remember that when the Caps finally get healthy, they will have two extra forwards on the roster. While the Caps can afford to keep two, most teams typically only carry one and Washington may look to trim one of those extra forwards in the coming weeks. That makes games like this one where more players are getting into the lineup and getting more minutes because of Oshie and Kuznetsov’s absence critical for those players who may or may not be fighting to stay on Washington’s roster.

    Todd Reirden remembers

    The last time these two teams met, things did not go that well for the Caps. Washington had a 4-3 lead late in the third period, but the Canadiens would score three goals in the final 3:04 of the game to win it 6-4.

    Reirden has not forgotten about that game and called a fake goalie interference challenge late in Colorado on Friday just so he could remind his team to finish strong.

    “It was a situation where a few weeks ago we had the lead and let it go against Montreal and it was something that we discussed with our team,” Reirden said following Friday’s game.”

    Reirden reminded the players about how that game ended as a way to motivate them in Colorado. How much more will he remind them about it on Monday in a rematch against the Canadiens and will it lead to a stronger finish for Washington?

    Max (Power) Domi

    Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin has been widely criticized for many of the moves he has made while with the Canadiens. It appears this summer, however, like he may have done something right.

    Bergevin acquired forward Max Domi from the Arizona Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk. It is a deal that looked decidedly one-sided in favor of Arizona, but let’s take all of the context out of it for one moment and just look at how Domi is performing right now. He looks like a tremendous player.

    Domi has already racked up 10 goals in just 20 and comes into Monday on a nine-game point streak, a streak that started on Nov. 1 in the game against Washington. He has far and away been the team’s top offensive threat this season and leads Montreal in points with 24, seven more than second-place Tomas Tatar.

    Speaking of Tatar, he is also someone the Caps will have to look out for as he has seemingly settled in with his new team and has six goals in his last six games.

    MORE CAPITALS NEWS: