Redskins

Jets stay in playoff hunt with 17-10 win over Jags

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Jets stay in playoff hunt with 17-10 win over Jags

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jets guard Brandon Moore gathered his fellow offensive linemen in the visiting locker room and delivered a not-so-subtle halftime message.

``He told us, `Guys, however you think you played in that first half, we've got to amp it up because we're not getting it done,''' right tackle Austin Howard said. ``'What we've done so far has gotten us zero points. So we've got to come together and get the offense rolling.'''

The line responded as well as Moore could have envisioned.

The New York Jets pounded Jacksonville on the ground Sunday, grinding out 116 yards and two touchdowns after the break and pulling out a 17-10 victory that improved the team's postseason chances.

Shonn Greene ran for 77 yards and a touchdown, and Bilal Powell added 78 yards and a score.

``Both those guys found holes because there were holes to be found,'' Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said. ``It was fun to watch.''

New York's second straight win - third in four games - combined with losses by Pittsburgh and Cincinnati left coach Rex Ryan's team a game out of the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture.

And the Jets (6-7) have a favorable closing stretch that includes games against Tennessee (4-9), San Diego (5-8) and Buffalo (5-8).

If they keep playing as they did in the second half against Jacksonville, they should have a chance to win them all.

The Jets were shut out in the opening half for the second consecutive week, but they didn't need to change quarterbacks to spark the offense this time around.

Instead, they just hammered the Jaguars (2-11) up the middle.

Greene scored on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter, and Powell added a 4-yarder early in the fourth. Powell's score made it 17-3 in a game that looked every bit like one featuring two of the NFL's worst offenses.

Sanchez, benched last week in a 7-6 win against Arizona, was hardly a factor. Neither was backup Tim Tebow, who spent his homecoming on the sideline.

Although the Jaguars turned Sanchez's first-half fumble into a field goal, he ended up having a decent day. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards, including a 37-yard completion on third down that helped the Jets milk the clock in the closing minutes.

``I tried to put extra emphasis on being smart with the ball,'' Sanchez said. ``I thought it was a good, efficient day for all of us.''

Tebow, who sat out the last two games while recovering from two broken ribs, was healthy enough to serve as New York's backup quarterback in his hometown. But he stayed on the bench.

``I never felt comfortable enough to go with him in the wildcat,'' Ryan said.

The Jets ran it just fine without him, finishing with 166 yards on 42 carries. They had 116 yards in the second half.

``Coming into this game, we felt like the Jets were going to run the ball,'' Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said. ``We didn't feel like they could beat us throwing the ball and then they rush for over a 100 yards. You have to give them credit. They were the more physical group, and that decided the game.''

The Jaguars were inept on offense most of the day.

Montell Owens ran for 91 yards, including a 32-yard score in the fourth that seemed to catch the Jets by surprise on a second-and-17 play.

But Jacksonville mustered little else.

Chad Henne had a pass tipped and intercepted near the goal line. Rookie receiver Kevin Elliott, starting in place of Cecil Shorts III, dropped two balls and was flagged for illegal touching on a key play with about a minute left. Guard Eben Britton was manhandled inside, giving up three sacks.

Josh Scobee missed a 55-yard field goal attempt wide left to close out the first half. And the Jaguars just missed blocking two punts.

Especially gut-wrenching for Jacksonville was Dwight Lowery's touchdown return that was overturned in the second quarter.

Lowery picked up Jeremy Kerley's fumble and took it 62 yards for an apparent score that would have given Jacksonville a 10-0 lead. But officials reviewed the play and ruled that Kerley had touched Lowery down. The Jaguars punted five plays later.

``We need things like that to happen for our team to help us win and help us with momentum,'' Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said. ``We're coming up short with them in one way or another.''

NOTES: Jets rookie WR Stephen Hill injured his right knee in the second quarter and did not return. Ryan said tests would determine the extent of the injury. The Jets already have WR Santonio Holmes on injured reserve. ... Owens' rushing touchdown was his first since December 2008. ... Owens, CB Derek Cox and TE Marcedes Lewis all left the game for Jacksonville, but later returned.

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Need to Know: What’s the outlook for the Redskins’ secondary in 2018?

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: What’s the outlook for the Redskins’ secondary in 2018?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 25, 31 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Fan questions—The secondary

To be sure, there are reasons to be concerned about the secondary and we’ll get into those in a bit. But the popular notion that the secondary struggled last year is not accurate.

Do you want to go standard stats? They were ninth in the league in passing yards allowed and 10th in opponent passer rating last year.

Do you prefer more advanced analytics? They were sixth in defensive passing DVOA and 11th in adjusted net yards per attempt.

That’s not a great pass defense but it was a pretty good one. It should be noted that they also benefited from a solid pass rush; they were seventh in the league in sack percentage. Still, you don’t finish in the top third of the league in pass defense without at least a competent secondary.

The question is, will it remain competent? Kendall Fuller was indeed a key player, one of the best slot corners in the league. Bashaud Breeland was inconsistent, but he did shine on occasion. But the fact that he is still available as a free agent indicates what the league thinks of him, problems passing the physical notwithstanding. Those two will have to be replaced.

It is likely that Quinton Dunbar will take Breeland’s spot on the outside. That is at worst a lateral exchange if not an improvement. Dunbar has been working for three years to get this opportunity and there is confidence among the coaches and, perhaps more importantly, the players that he is ready.

Orlando Scandrick is the probable starter at slot. He is a downgrade from Fuller, no question about it. If he is healthy—a big if—Scandrick is good enough to get the job done. Don’t let the star he wore on the side of his helmet for so many years blind you to the fact that he’s a solid player.

The depth at slot consists of second-year player Josh Holsey, who played all of nine snaps on defense last year, and rookie Greg Stroman. That’s not ideal but most of the other teams in the NFL have a similar depth chart.

The wild card who could be the difference between this secondary being better than last year or worse is Fabian Moreau. He played only 59 defensive snaps as a rookie but he did show off his speed and hard-hitting style on some of his 349 special teams snaps. During the offseason practices that were open to the media, Moreau was mostly Josh Norman’s backup at left cornerback. The feeling is that he won’t remain a reserve. We will have to see how things sort out during training camp.

There should be some improvement at safety if Montae Nicholson figures out how to stay on the field in his second year. If he struggles with injuries again and Deshazor Everett has to line up alongside D.J. Swearinger for a good chunk of the season, the safeties are no worse off because that's what happened last year. 

The bottom line is that a secondary that was good last year may take a step down in 2018 but the decline should not be steep. And if Moreau can be the player the organization thought he could be when they used a third-round pick for him, it could be just as good if not better.

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

Tandler on Twitter

I tweeted this in response to a discussion about the relative popularity of the NFL and NBA. Albert Breer’s tweet on the TV ratings for the leagues’ respective drafts was the nexus of the discussion.

Timeline  

Redskins cornerback Josh Holsey was born on this date in 1994.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 31
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 45
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 59

The Redskins last played a game 176 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 76 days.

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Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

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USA Today

Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy's two-run single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 on Sunday night to salvage the finale of the three-game series.

Anthony Rendon homered and doubled, Bryce Harper tied a career high with three doubles and Michael A. Taylor and Murphy each had three singles in a game that was delayed 38 minutes by rain in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams homered for the Phillies, who had won three straight.

Pinch hitter Brian Goodwin led off the eighth with a walk against Victor Arano. With one out, right-hander Seranthony Dominguez (1-2) came on to face Harper, who doubled to right, with Goodwin stopping at third.

After Rendon grounded out, Juan Soto was intentionally walked and Murphy lined a 1-2 pitch to shallow right. Taylor's single made it 8-6.

Ryan Madson (2-3) pitched the eighth inning, and Sean Doolittle finished it for his 21st save.

The Phillies took a 6-2 lead in the fifth on a two-run triple by Odubel Herrera and a two-run homer by Williams.

Washington pulled within a run at 6-5 in the sixth with four two-out hits, including an RBI triple by Trea Turner and RBI doubles by Harper and Rendon.

Nick Pivetta went five innings and allowed two runs on eight hits for the Phillies.

Washington starter Jefry Rodriguez was charged with four runs and five hits in four-plus innings.

The Phillies broke on top on Hoskins's two-run homer in the third.

Rendon made it 2-1 with a solo homer in the fourth. The next three hitters singled, tying the game, but with the rain intensifying, out came the tarp. When play resumed, Pivetta struck out three straight to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: C Andrew Knapp left in the seventh with a right knee contusion. ... 3B Maikel Franco slipped on first base and fell hard in the eighth. He stayed in to run, but left after the half-inning. ... INF Jesmuel Valent?n was placed on the paternity leave list and OF Dylan Cozens (left quadriceps strain) was reinstated from the 10-day DL.

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) allowed 11 runs in 4 2/3 innings of a rehab start at Class A Potomac on Sunday. "I'm more concerned with the way he feels," manager Dave Martinez said, downplaying the results. "We'll go from there." ... RH reliever Brandon Kintzler (right forearm flexor strain) threw a scoreless inning at Potomac. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) played catch on the field again. "We'll keep doing his throwing progression and figure out when he can actually throw from the mound," Martinez said.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.82) starts the opener of a series against the Yankees on Monday. He is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in two games vs. New York.

Nationals: RHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08) opens a series at Tampa Bay on Monday. He is 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA in six games against the Rays.