Redskins

Jets' Ryan: Dolphins' Bush should say sorry

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Jets' Ryan: Dolphins' Bush should say sorry

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Rex Ryan already said he's sorry. He thinks it's about time Reggie Bush did, too.

The New York Jets coach is still bothered by the Miami Dolphins running back's comments a few weeks ago that Darrelle Revis' season-ending knee injury was a case of ``what goes around comes around.''

``I apologized for my comment,'' Ryan said Wednesday. ``I expect him to do the same.''

Ryan drew the ire of the Dolphins star when the coach said the Jets were going to put ``hot sauce'' - saying he meant lots of attention, not intent to injure - on Bush before New York's 23-20 overtime win last month. Bush hurt his left knee in the game on a hit by LaRon Landry, and later implied it was karma that Revis also hurt his knee and was lost for the season.

Bush told reporters in Miami that he wasn't concerned that the Jets might try to get him back Sunday when the teams meet at MetLife Stadium.

``Retaliation? They're the ones who started this,'' Bush said. ``If there was ever any retaliation, it would come from us. But this team and the caliber of guys and the character we have are guys who play with respect for the game and play hard. It's football. I didn't go and complain or whine about being a target of the Jets. I expect that every game. I don't expect for it to be any different this game. I expect it to be a tough game, probably some trash talking going on. It's going to be a physical, tough game.

``It's a divisional opponent. That's the great thing about playing divisional opponents. You get to play them twice. It'll be fun this time around.''

Landry was told of Bush's comments, and said he didn't want to add to a war of words - but then added fuel to the fire.

``When guys yap back and forth, obviously you've done a great job,'' Landry said. ``No matter if it was a bonehead play or whatever, I mean, you got to them in some type of way that they had to speak on it. I don't really get into all that and the Twitter and everything. We'll see on Sunday.

``I'm grateful for another opportunity to play this guy, and he will remember that hit. Every time he sees me, he will remember that hit. If I'm in the box or I'm coming downhill, whatever, he will remember that hit. I don't worry about what those guys say.''

Landry, known for his physical and aggressive style of tackling, says it's clear when a team has gotten into an opposing player's head. And, he thinks, Bush will be the perfect example of that.

``Just watch the way he runs,'' Landry said. ``We'll see when he comes out here this Sunday. I don't want to say too much and I'm not going to overtalk it and make a story.''

Ryan said after the teams last played on Sept. 23 that his ``hot sauce'' comment was misinterpreted and he never coaches to hurt another player. Linebacker Calvin Pace raised some eyebrows, though, saying the Jets planned to ``put him on out,'' but later apologized and insisted there was no ``bounty'' on Bush or anything malicious meant by his comment.

Bush, whose injury wasn't serious, was angry, though, saying during a radio interview: ``They talked all week about putting hot sauce and this and that, and they ended up losing their best player for the rest of the season. So, it's sad that it happened because of that, but I'm going to be back.''

Revis had surgery last week to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, and hopes to be back in time for training camp next summer.

Ryan said he wasn't worried about Miami retaliating, either, and again reiterated that his comments were taken out of context.

``I never said we were trying to injure Reggie Bush, that's not even close,'' Ryan said. ``He's going to get our attention. I'm sorry, but he's a player that's going to warrant a lot of attention and that's what I meant by my comments. If it was taken differently, I apologized for that. But trust me, we know when he's in the game.''

Ryan added that he respects Bush's abilities and ``that's bad for football'' when any player of his caliber is injured for any period of time.

``This game is great because of the players and talent, and that's what I mean,'' Ryan said. ``If Reggie thinks about it, you want Darrelle playing in this league.''

Despite what Ryan said, Bush has his doubts as to the sincerity of the coach's remarks when he says he doesn't want the running back injured.

``I don't believe that at all,'' he said.

Ryan added that he doesn't necessarily expect Bush to apologize to him, but perhaps he should say sorry to Revis at some point.

``I'm sure he kind of got caught up in the moment,'' Ryan said. ``He was injured. I mean, obviously, no one likes to get hurt. And that certainly wasn't my intention and I hope he understands. But he doesn't have to ever say anything to me, or even reach out to Revis.

``But I would expect him to, for the simple fact that that's his peer. That's one of the elite players in this league.''

Landry has been hit with a few personal foul penalties and has worked to be smarter with his approach. He has also been accused at times of perhaps hitting too low, and was asked if he has ever personally heard from running backs about that.

``I don't care,'' he said. ``It doesn't matter. I'm trying to win a ballgame.''

And, he certainly isn't going to change his approach.

``If I get penalized, I'm not going to stop head hunting,'' Landry said. ``I'm not going to stop the way I play. That's just my mentality, it's just my personality. That's my makeup.''

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NOTES: Ryan called Sunday's game ``critical'' and ``huge,'' but Landry took it a step further: ``This game is a must win,'' the safety said. ``We can sweep those guys and also go into the bye 4-4. That's what we're striving to do and that's what we will do.'' ... RB-KR Joe McKnight is still dealing with a sprained left ankle that had him questionable up until shortly before kickoff against Indianapolis. He ended up playing, and insists he'll be good to go against Miami despite not practicing Wednesday. ``If (Mike) Westhoff can beat his leg cancer, I can play through a little ankle sprain,'' he said, referring to the Jets' special teams coach. Westhoff had a malignant tumor found in his left leg in 1988, and has needed several operations on it since.

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AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Davie, Fla., contributed to this report.

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Drafting a first round QB outside of the top two picks has largely backfired

Drafting a first round QB outside of the top two picks has largely backfired

Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes are two quarterbacks who were taken in the middle of the 2017 NFL Draft's first round, and they serve as two recent examples that you don't have to have a pick at the top of that round to land a star passer.

Problem is, they're basically the only recent examples, too.

In the past decade, teams who've tried to find their franchise signal-caller in the first round outside of either the first or second pick have failed time and time again. Since 2009, those prized QBs have mostly been selected No. 1 or No. 2 overall or mined beyond the first round. 

The following list, compiled by Redskins Talk co-host Mitch Tischler, shows how many mediocre to straight-up bad options franchises have found using picks 3-32:

  • Mark Sanchez — 2009 pick No. 5 — 37-36 career record
  • Josh Freeman — 2009 pick No. 17 — 25-36 career record
  • Tim Tebow — 2010 pick No. 25 — 8-6 career record
  • Jake Locker — 2011 pick No. 8 — 9-14 career record
  • Blaine Gabbert — 2011 pick No. 10 — 13-35 career record
  • Christian Ponder — 2011 pick No. 12 — 14-21-1 career record
  • Ryan Tannehill — 2012 pick No. 8 —42-46 career record
  • Brandon Weeden — 2012 pick No. 22 — 6-19 career record
  • EJ Manuel — 2013 pick No. 16 — 6-12 career record
  • Blake Bortles — 2014 pick No. 3 — 24-49 career record
  • Johnny Manziel — 2014 pick No. 22 — 2-6 career record
  • Paxton Lynch — 2016 pick No. 26 — 1-3 career record
  • Patrick Mahomes — 2017 pick No. 10 — 13-4 career record
  • Deshaun Watson — 2017 pick No. 12 — 14-8 career record
  • Sam Darnold — 2018 pick No. 3 — 4-9 career record
  • Josh Allen — 2018 pick No. 7 — 5-6 career record
  • Josh Rosen — 2018 pick No. 10 — 3-10 career record
  • Lamar Jackson — 2018 pick No. 32 — 6-1 career record
     

That list is one the Redskins — who own the 15th pick in the 2019 draft and who are beginning to be linked heavily to Kyler Murray — should pay close attention to.

The 2018 class is too young to judge, and as mentioned earlier, the 2017 class is providing quality returns. But none of the other names on that list have turned into anything useful, not to mention anything resembling special.

Of course, if you go back farther into the past, you'll find that QBs like Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers were snagged during the meat of the first round, so it's not impossible. However, the last 10 years have shown it can be very difficult to nail a pick in that range.

The logic feels simple: The truly elite talents, such as Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, are snatched up immediately. The QBs who are found in the mid- to late rounds, meanwhile, are given more time to develop and/or find themselves on rosters that have been built up more.

Those non-elite first-rounders, on the other hand, are generally caught in between: not skilled enough to help turn around a team singlehandedly but, because they're high investments, they're forced into those tough situations and end up floundering.

There's no doubt that the 'Skins need a new hope under center. Where they should commit to that hope, though, is something that must be considered.  

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Dozier and Long a match made in launch angle heaven

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USA Today Sports

Dozier and Long a match made in launch angle heaven

Brian Dozier came to a realization following his rookie season in 2012. Why not hit the ball more often in the air and accentuate a strength? Instead of drilling to fix a weakness -- like opposite-field hitting or even ground ball rate -- choose to club away, in the air, to the pull side, as often as possible.

No en vogue terminology explained Dozier’s pursuit of six years ago. Omnipotent terms like “launch angle” remained shrouded and in development. Dozier didn’t need a phrase. He just needed to do what worked more often.

The idea took with career-altering results. Dozier hit 18 home runs, then 23, then 28, then 42. Pull-side fly balls turned him into an All-Star and commodity at second base. His new one-year deal with the Nationals brings him a hitting coach who is elated by the idea of hitting up and over.

Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long is the effervescent patriarch of launch angle. “We want to hit it over the shift,” Long will tell anyone willing to listen. Do damage, hit bombs, whatever slang term is preferred. Just hit the ball in the air. On the ground equals outs. In the air produces runs.

Melding a second baseman in search of a reboot after a down year with a hitting coach who is going to trumpet a cause the infielder already backed could be a powerful formula.

“When I changed my approach at the end of 2012 going into 2013, there was no launch angle, any of that stuff, but looking back at it now that’s kind of exactly what it was,” Dozier said Tuesday on a conference call. “We just didn’t have a name for it. “[It’s] recognizing your strength and doing everything you can to be really good at your strength rather than try to tweak weaknesses and stuff. And one of those strengths for me is hitting the ball in the air to left field, left-center field. Once I kind of got that part of it, I really enjoyed doing that. It’s going to be a fun year with a hitting coach that kind of sees the same thing, whether your strength is hitting the ball in the air or hitting the ball the other way, I believe in really honing into your strength and really running with that. Some guys’ strengths aren’t hitting the ball in the air, which is fine.”

The numbers coinciding with Dozier’s rise from eighth-round pick to among the league leaders in homers from 2014-2017 are stark. His fly ball rate increased year after year until peaking in 2016 at 47.7 percent, the same season he hit 42 home runs. His 120 OPS-plus in that span showed what kind of work he performed in Minnesota’s cool and spacious Target Field.

However, 2018 brought a significant recession when an April bone bruise in his left knee hindered him throughout the season. Tuesday, Dozier explained the importance of load bearing and stability from his front leg in order to execute his upward swing. Instead of landing on the front of his foot, the knee bruise pushed him back to his heel, opening his hips early. Grizzly results followed: 21 homers, a .215 average, sub-.700 OPS.

Dozier said Tuesday his knee is healed. Finally receiving a break from baseball following the World Series allowed him to recover. That’s also when he had to decide his future. Dozier wasn’t sure how the market would react to his down season following years of being one of the heaviest second base bats in baseball. He said he received multiple offers -- some providing more years and money than the Nationals’ one-year, $9 million deal he settled on -- before selecting Washington. Conversations with his ex-Minnesota teammate Kurt Suzuki, in his second stint with the Nationals, and former Washington outfielder Josh Willingham, who played with Dozier in Minnesota, too, helped sway his decision.

“It just seemed like a really good fit,” Dozier said.

That is applicable to this coming partnership between Dozier and Long. In the air, often and to the pull side. It’s a subtle pairing that could help Dozier return to the 30-home run mark, and the Nationals to receive inexpensive bop from an infield spot.

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