Capitals

Jaguars' Mathis confused by lack of snaps at Bills

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Jaguars' Mathis confused by lack of snaps at Bills

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Coach Mike Mularkey took the blame for keeping veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis on the sideline in Buffalo.

Mularkey said Monday he ``just made a mistake'' by sticking with second-year player Kevin Rutland in a 34-18 loss to the Bills.

Rutland got beat for a 51-yard gain on Buffalo's opening drive, which ended with a touchdown, and looked lost on Stevie Johnson's 13-yard TD reception early in the third.

Mathis watched both plays from the sideline, confused by being on the bench and convinced he could have made a difference.

``This is not to bash anybody. This is not to spark a big, `What's going on with Rashean thing,''' said Mathis, who was inactive for three games last month because of a groin injury. ``I do have a voice, and this is the little voice I want to be understood. ... I feel good. I feel like I'm in a position to help my team win.''

Mathis said he ``could have a right to act up'' since he's a 10-year veteran who has started 129 games. But he took the high road, avoiding any potential conflicts with the team he has played for since being drafted in the second round in 2003.

Mularkey, meanwhile, made it clear that Mathis will play more beginning Sunday against the New York Jets (5-7). He might have to since starters Derek Cox (hamstring) and Aaron Ross (calf) are nursing injuries.

Mathis played 50 snaps the previous week against Tennessee, after Cox and Ross left the game with injuries.

Mularkey gave no real answer when asked why Mathis was seemingly benched against the Bills.

``It's nobody's fault but mine,'' Mularkey said. ``I wish I'd him in there earlier. It's not like they were throwing the ball 40 times, but I should have had him in there, in the game, and addressed it with him, knowing he was going to be talked to.''

Regardless, the way the season has unfolded has Mathis thinking about the possibility of playing his final four games with his hometown team.

``I'm not saying I haven't thought about it,'' Mathis said. ``That would be lying. It's just what are you concentrating on. That's the main thing. What I'm concentrating on is what I'm going to do today and then tomorrow and the next. That will allow other things to play out.''

Mathis signed a one-year deal in March that could be worth up to $5 million. It included a $1 million signing bonus and a $950,000 base salary - a low-risk deal that protected the team by re-signing a 32-year-old player coming off reconstructive knee surgery. Mathis could have earned the remaining $3.05 million in incentives tied to playing time.

But playing just eight snaps against the Bills sure seemed like his days in Jacksonville are numbered.

``You've been somewhere for so long you get comfortable,'' Mathis said. ``I've seen Freddy (Taylor) go. I've seen Donovin Darius go. I've seen guys go. I know that's the nature of the business, so I'm not naive. I've seen the best Jaguars in the history of the franchise get let go and go to another team. I'm not naive. It's reality. Michael Jordan went to another team. Who am I? That's just the nature of the business, the nature of sports.

``And if you can't face that reality, something is wrong. I can look in the mirror and I can face reality. I'm a logical person. I try to be as real as I can be with myself.''

For Mathis, who has mostly avoided controversy, his comments proved to be as much popping off as he's done in a decade.

``I'm going to do things the right way,'' said Mathis, who vowed to play somewhere next season. ``I tweaked my groin, and I respect the coaches in saying they didn't want me to favor one side over the other. Taking a couple weeks off helped and it made me stronger. I was concentrating on lifting and building my leg stronger, which you don't have time to do if you're practicing every day and taking reps like that, so the rest help.

``But it's only so much rest I need. I'm going to leave it at that.''

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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw and so four straight division title – and two Presidents’ Trophies – meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship – Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 - but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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