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Jets sticking with Sanchez, looking at everything

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Jets sticking with Sanchez, looking at everything

NEW YORK (AP) Changes might be coming for the New York Jets.

Mark Sanchez losing his starting job won't be among them.

Rex Ryan again stood by his quarterback Monday despite Sanchez's struggles in an ugly mistake-filled 30-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday that left the Jets coach searching for answers and fans chanting for Tim Tebow to take over.

``I think Mark's our guy,'' Ryan said. ``I don't think there's any doubt about that. I'm confident in Mark.''

There's no question, though, that the Jets (3-5) need to figure things out, and quick. They have games at Seattle and St. Louis after their bye-week break, followed by a home game on Thanksgiving night against New England.

Ryan originally planned to have the players report to the facility on Monday and Tuesday, but decided to give them the full week off to be with their families and prepare for Hurricane Sandy.

``I want them to get away and when they come back, we have to be all in,'' Ryan said during a conference call. ``The only chance we have is if we are 100 percent all in. We have no wiggle room. We need to start playing a ton better.''

Ryan will brainstorm with his coaches this week before they take a few days off, and he expects suggestions on how to fix ``everything'' from everyone on his staff.

``Is it a little change? Is it a radical change?'' Ryan said. ``I'm up for anything.''

While Tebow won't be the solution as the full-time quarterback, Ryan acknowledged that he'll explore how the versatile backup can be used more on offense after seeing minimal playing time during the season's first half. Tebow has played in just 54 offensive plays, averaging less than seven per game.

``I think we'll take a hard look at how we're using him, what we're asking him to do,'' Ryan said. ``Are there other things we can do with him? I think you're absolutely right. We will definitely look at that.''

So much was made in the offseason about how Tebow would add a unique element to the offense, whether it was in wildcat or read-option packages, but that certainly hasn't materialized. Last week, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said he could ``do a better job'' of using Tebow.

To his credit, Tebow has not complained publicly, or offered a sliver of frustration, knowing he could be doing more to help this team.

``I'm just ready and willing,'' said Tebow, who even lined up at wide receiver Sunday. ``Whenever they call my number, I go out there to help the team and (I'm) not listening to what the crowd is saying.''

There's a good chance that Tebow will be a large part of the discussions between the coaches this week, and would understand if the backup quarterback wasn't thrilled with his role so far.

``Any competitor wants to be out there playing, so it wouldn't be shocking if that's how he felt,'' Ryan said. ``As a football team, we're frustrated. We're getting closer and closer, and we thought we were getting better as a football team, but we took a step back yesterday.''

The Jets allowed a blocked punt to be returned for a touchdown, had a field goal blocked and Sanchez fumbled on a sack that the Dolphins later turned into a score. There were mistakes all over the field, and it wasn't all Sanchez.

``We all understand it comes down to execution,'' center Nick Mangold said. ``It doesn't matter if we have Joe Namath back there if we don't execute.''

There were missed throws, dropped passes, failed assignments on the line and in the running game - and it all added up to a dismal performance on offense. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie intimated after the game that the defense has been doing its part while the offense continues to struggle.

With a long break in between games, there's plenty of time for frustration to fester, something that helped rip apart the Jets' season a year ago. Mangold insists that won't be the case this time around.

``We learned last year that pointing fingers and being disgruntled is not going to help anybody,'' Mangold said.

The players also support Sanchez as their leader, despite the growing public sentiment that some sort of change needs to be made to save the season.

``I believe in Mark just as much as he believes in me being a nose tackle,'' Sione Po'uha said.

Sanchez was 28 of 54 for 283 yards with a touchdown, but had the fumble late in the opening quarter on a sack by Nolan Carroll. He also was intercepted by Chris Clemons when he had the Jets driving while trailing 27-3 in the third quarter.

There are mistakes still being made by Sanchez that many don't expect from a fourth-year quarterback. But, he has also had to adjust to a constantly changing cast of characters on offense around him. While many teams build around their quarterbacks, particularly a first-rounder such as Sanchez, the Jets have rebuilt the personnel on offense on a regular basis.

Only two skill position players remain from Sanchez's rookie season in 2009: tight end Dustin Keller and running back Shonn Greene. While it's not the only reason for Sanchez's struggles, the frequent turnover can't have helped his development.

So, for now, this remains Sanchez's team to lead - to a second-half surge or a second straight season out of the postseason.

``If it was one guy, I think it's easy to say we'd make that change,'' Ryan said. ``But I think Mark gives us the best chance to win. That's how I feel. Can Tim be successful? Yeah, absolutely. We'll look at that as well. But in my opinion, Mark as the starting quarterback gives my football team the best chance to win.''

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NOTES: Po'uha said he has no structural damage to his back after missing three games because of severe stiffness. He returned Sunday and played 21 snaps. ... Ryan said thinks RB-WR Joe McKnight (sprained right ankle), LB Bart Scott (hyperextended right big toe), S Eric Smith (sprained knee) and RB Bilal Powell (dislocated right shoulder) should be healthy and ready to go against Seattle.

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NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

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USA TODAY Sports

NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Atlantic Division...

Toronto Raptors, B+

2017-18 finish: 59-23, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Kawhi Leonard, G Danny Green, C Greg Monroe
Out: G DeMar DeRozan, C Jakub Poeltl, C Lucas Nogueira

The Raptors had one of the more consequential offseasons of any NBA team this year. First, they fired Dwane Casey, the 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year, following a season in which they won 59 games. Then, they pulled off the biggest trade of the summer, a deal that featured two perennial All-NBA players. They let go of DeRozan and brought in Leonard in return. If they hadn't parted with DeRozan and Casey, they may have gotten an A. But it's hard to tell how much better they will be following the deal and Leonard does bring with him some concerns based on his quadriceps injury and the fact he has only one year left on his contract. The Raptors do, however, also get points for re-signing point guard Fred VanVleet.

Boston Celtics, C

2017-18 finish: 55-27, conference finals
In: C Robert Williams, G Brad Wanamaker
Out: C Greg Monroe

One year ago, the Celtics flipped nearly their entire roster and brought in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. This year, they mostly stood pat and didn't add much of anything in free agency or trades. Their biggest acquisition was Williams, who they took 27th overall in the first round of the draft. The Celtics will hope they improve from within. They re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes, and should get Irving and Hayward back from injuries. They should have plenty of talent to compete for an NBA Finals berth, but as far as this offseason goes, they didn't do much.

Philadelphia 76ers, D+

2017-18 finish: 52-30, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Wilson Chandler, C Mike Muscala, G Zhaire Smith, G Landry Shamet
Out: G Marco Belinelli, F Ersan Ilyasova

Where do we begin? This summer was about as dramatic and bad as it could get for the Sixers. First, they had to fire their general manager because of a burner Twitter account scandal. Then, they struck out miserably in free agency with LeBron James and Paul George, and in trade talks for Leonard. After that, Smith - their first round pick - hurt his foot. And along the way, Ben Simmons has been dating a Kardashian, flirting with the curse that has claimed many pro athletes before him. Philly did re-sign J.J. Redick and Johnson, and the Chandler trade was nice, but all in all it was an offseason that fell way short of the Sixers' expectations. That said, they can still get way better next season based solely on their young players taking another step.

New York Knicks, B

2017-18 finish: 29-53, missed playoffs
In: F Mario Hezonja, F Kevin Knox, F Noah Vonleh, C Mitchell Robinson
Out: F Michael Beasley, G Jarrett Jack, F Kyle O'Quinn

It's been a while since the Knicks had an offseason to write home about and this one is no exception. There was nothing they did that would flirt with an A-grade. However, the early returns on their draft are excellent. Knox and Robinson were both standouts in the Summer League and offer fans a little bit more hope about the team's future. As long as Kristaps Porzingis can return this season safe and sound from his ACL tear, the Knicks could take a step forward in 2018-19.

Brooklyn Nets, C+

2017-18 finish: 28-54, missed playoffs
In: F Ed Davis, F Kenneth Faried, F Jared Dudley, 
Out: F Dante Cunningham, G Nik Stauskas, C Jahlil Okafor

The best news about the Nets' offseason is that their trade with the Celtics, the one that stripped them of years of first round picks, is finally over. Next year, the Nets will have a first round pick. This summer, they once again didn't add any major pieces in the draft, but seemed to make some smart moves in free agency. The Davis deal is solid and Faried may benefit from a change of scenery. More baby steps for Brooklyn.

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Jamaal Charles headlines a group of Redskins running back tryouts

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USA Today Sports

Jamaal Charles headlines a group of Redskins running back tryouts

Jamaal Charles used to be among the best running backs in the NFL, and maybe the Redskins hope to turn back the clock. 

Washington is dealing with a number of injuries at the running back spot, and to get through two more preseason games, the team is bringing in a number of veteran runners for tryouts. Charles is the biggest name coming in for a test drive with the Redskins, as ESPN reported. Former Giants RB Orleans Darkwa is also getting a tryout, per multiple reports. 

How did Washington get to the point where the team needs to add more backfield options in mid-August?

First, Derrius Guice injured his knee in the preseason opener. He will miss the season. 

In the second preseason game, Samaje Perine, Byron Marshall and rookie Martez Carter got hurt. Perine should be back in a week or as he suffered only a sprained ankle. Marshall could miss a month, making a roster spot flimsy, and Carter was waived due to his injury. 

That means the Burgundy and Gold only have Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson active for practice, and remember, Thompson is working back from a broken leg last November. He hasn't played yet in the preseason, and might not go at all until Week 1 in Arizona.

Add all of that together and the team was forced to bring in veteran options, if for nothing else than to get through the remaining two preseason games.

Back to Charles.

From 2009 to 2014, Charles put up absurd numbers. He approached 2,000 total yards from scrimmage in both 2013 and 2010, and put up more than 1,700 total yards in 2012. It's worth adding that Charles found great success with Alex Smith when both were playing in Kansas City. Just saying. He was undeniably great, and probably won thousands of people thousands of dollars as a fantasy football MVP.

That time appears to be over though.

In the last three seasons, injuries have robbed Charles of his burst and elusiveness. Last year, he couldn't break through in the Denver backfield despite being healthy for 14 games. He rushed for just under 300 yards. 

Redskins fans will have unfortunate memories of Darkwa.

In an ugly Week 17 loss last season in New York, he busted a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and finished the game with 154 yards. Last season was the best of his career for Darkwa, he ran for more than 750 yards and averaged 4.4 yards-per-carry. He's only 26 years old and, coincidentally, played college football at Tulane with Rob Kelley

By adding Guice in the second round of the NFL Draft this spring, the Redskins thought they addressed their need for a talent boost at the RB position. With Guice out for the year, the position looks about the same as it did in 2017. 

Adding Charles and Darkwa seem unlikely to change that, at least significantly. And that's if either of the veteran runners even make the 90-man roster. 

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