Jared Allen apologetic for hit on Bears lineman


Jared Allen apologetic for hit on Bears lineman

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) The hit was so uncharacteristic of Jared Allen.

The Minnesota Vikings defensive end has never been accused of being a dirty player, yet there he was, launching himself into Chicago Bears offensive lineman Lance Louis during an interception return by teammate Antoine Winfield on Sunday. The blindside blow ended Louis' season and drew a $21,000 fine from the NFL.

Allen remained apologetic on Thursday for the results of the hit, but also was steadfast in his stance that he never intended to injure Louis and thought he made a clean football play.

``Just making a block on an interception,'' Allen said. ``Like I said before, it was never my intention to hurt a guy. I feel bad that he got hurt. That's obviously never my intention. But `Toine's coming up the sideline to make a play. I blocked the guy and sometimes bad things happen.''

Coach Leslie Frazier said Allen's mistake was leaving his feet.

``You have to be careful about leaving your feet,'' Frazier said. ``Other than that, it was a good block. I didn't think it was a vicious block.''

In a small way, Allen may have been taking his frustrations out on Louis in the third quarter after spending so much time chasing Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in vain. Even against a banged-up, makeshift offensive line, Allen was rarely able to get even a whiff of Cutler in a demoralizing 28-10 loss at Soldier Field.

The one chance he did get, he ended up a half-step away from Cutler before the QB zipped a 13-yard touchdown pass to Matt Spaeth in the second quarter that put the Bears up 25-3.

``I got chipped by a tight end coming in and missed it by a half-step,'' Allen said. ``That turns it from a sack, forced fumble to a touchdown. There was a couple times like that.''

For the guy who finished one sack shy of setting the single-season record a year ago, this season has been filled with close calls. Allen has just seven sacks this season and has gone three straight games without one, not the year he was hoping for when he talked about being the first player in league history to record two 20-sack seasons.

There are several reasons for the drop off, including falling behind early in games, which allows offenses to use short throws and maximum protections to keep the heat off their quarterbacks.

``If we can get a lead and force them to play from behind and take shots down field by being successful on first and second down, then you create some matchup things,'' Allen said. ``If not, it's going to be a tough road.''

But Frazier insists Allen is still having a major impact on the game even if he's not driving quarterbacks into the turf as often as he did last year.

``He's no different than any other competitor. He wants to help our football team win and sometimes sacks help that to happen,'' Frazier said. ``It is frustrating, but at the same time, he knows where we are as a team and whatever it takes to help us to win, that's what he wants to do.''

The Vikings (6-5) face a similar situation this week against the Packers (7-4), who have struggled to protect Aaron Rodgers just like the Bears had struggled to protect Cutler. Rodgers has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the league this season.

As the Vikings found out last week, some problems up front don't automatically mean a feeding frenzy for Allen, Brian Robison and the rest of Minnesota's accomplished defensive line.

``If you can get a lead when you've got a group of guys that can rush the passer, then you have a chance,'' Frazier said. ``But if it's a game that's in the balance or you're behind, it's hard to rush the passer.''

That said, the Vikings sure could use another big-time game from Allen against the Packers, a team he has tormented since joining the Vikings in 2008. Allen has sacked Rodgers 12 1/2 times, more than any other quarterback, including a monster 4 1/2-sack game in 2009.

``We need him to have a big game for us,'' Frazier said. ``He's a guy that garners so much attention when he's on the field. But it would be great to see one of those two- or three-sack games. But I've got a feeling they're going to do some things to try to keep that from happening.''

NOTES: WR Percy Harvin (ankle) did not practice on Thursday. Frazier said he would need to see progress during practice on Friday to feel good about dressing him against the Packers. ``It would be hard to put him out there in a game without seeing him run around a little bit more than what he did on Wednesday,'' Frazier said. " ... TE Kyle Rudolph (shoulder) practiced after missing Wednesday and Frazier said he is on track to play Sunday.


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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

USA Today Sports

10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 


Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?


Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.


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Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

USA Today

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

ATLANTA—Anibal Sanchez outpitched Mike Soroka and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, Matt Adams homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Saturday night.

Second-place Washington pulled within 5 games of the NL East-leading Braves, improving to 33-14 since May 24, best in the majors over that span. Atlanta has dropped four of five.

Sanchez (6-6) got a big assist in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Trea Turner turned a bases-loaded double play, leaping to nab Nick Markakis' liner and throwing to first to beat Josh Donaldson back to the bag.

Soroka (10-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He had won 10 straight decisions, best by an Atlanta pitcher since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux had a 10-decision streak in 2001.

Sean Doolittle got the last five outs, facing the minimum, for his 21st save in 25 chances. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner at second to end the eighth and breezed through the ninth.

Washington went up 4-1 in the fifth when Sanchez reached on an infield single to third, took second on Donaldson's throwing error and scored on Turner's double. Turner took third on Adam Eaton's single and scored on Anthony Rendon's single. Eaton scored on Juan Soto's single.

The Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the eighth off A.J. Minter as Turner singled, stole second and scored on Eaton's single.

Adams went deep for the 15th time, an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and into the stands to tie it at 1-all in the fourth.

Sanchez, who pitched for the Braves last year and helped them win the division, allowed three runs and six hits and has a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the first when Acuna reached on an infield single, stole second base, advanced on a flyout and scored on Freddie Freeman's single.

Brian McCann's ninth homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, chased Sanchez and cut the lead to 4-3.



NBC Sports Washington's Michael Stearman contributed to this Associated Press story.