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Jones nears wins record for Oklahoma quarterbacks

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Jones nears wins record for Oklahoma quarterbacks

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) As he closes in on rewriting some of Oklahoma's storied history, Landry Jones got a timely note to provide just the boost he needed.

Jones was doubting himself after committing two costly turnovers in the Sooners' loss to Kansas State last month. Then he received a letter from former Sooners quarterback Steve Davis - the very man whose school record for wins he's about to break.

``He just really wanted to encourage me,'' Jones said. ``Just keep going, keep leading those guys and keep fighting, regardless of what happens in the next game or the last game. Your focus is on this game and always to lead those guys.''

Jones rebounded with a solid performance, throwing for 256 yards and two touchdowns - this time with no turnovers - in a 41-20 win at Texas Tech on Saturday that at least momentarily silenced his critics.

Jones was as tough as anyone on himself after his fumble was picked up for a K-State touchdown and his interception set up the Wildcats' go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. He called himself out for playing ``dumb football'' and encouraged everyone to place the blame on him for the loss, even as his coaches and teammates insisted he wasn't the only one at fault.

Then he had an extra-long time to soak it in, with the Sooners (3-1, 1-1) having the following week off.

``There were some high parts and there were some low parts, that's for sure,'' Jones said. ``That night you're just thinking to yourself what could I have done better, especially after the game. That's the worst part. But then once Monday rolls around you just have to put it behind you and fight those doubts of whether you can actually make plays or not plays, but it's just one thing you have to fight.''

Jones has been through plenty in his time as Oklahoma's starter. He was thrust into action when Sam Bradford was injured in 2009, a year after he'd won the Heisman Trophy. Twice Jones lost games when he relieved Bradford, including against rival Texas.

He's won a Big 12 championship and three bowl games, but it's never seemed like enough while playing in the shadows of Bradford, 2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White and Josh Heupel, who led the team to the 2000 national title.

``Landry's had ups and downs. We've had our ups and downs since he's been the quarterback, as a program,'' said Heupel, now the Sooners' offensive coordinator. ``He's resilient. He comes back. During the course of the game, he's that way. ... He's mature in that way. He knows who and what he is as a person and player, so that's why he just keeps coming after it. He might not always get the results you want, but he's willing to come after it.''

Jones has by far thrown the most passes in Oklahoma history and came into the season already holding the records for most yardage and touchdown passes, most yards in a game and numerous others. He's 32-8 as Oklahoma's starter, tying the number of wins Davis had during a remarkable 32-1-1 run that included the 1974 and 1975 national championships.

Jones can break the wins mark in marquee fashion Saturday when his No. 13 Sooners take on No. 15 Texas (4-1, 1-1) in the Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Jones is technically 2-0 as a starter in the rivalry and could become only the fourth Oklahoma quarterback to go 3-0, joining Jimmy Harris, Jamelle Holieway and Davis.

``There's a lot of emotion that goes into that game,'' Jones said. ``It's just a different type of game because there's so much tradition.''

In a nutshell, that's also how Jones has approached his entire tenure as the starter and how Davis instructed him to remain even during the tough times.

``I think it's a great position in sports, It's a tough position in sports, too,'' Heupel said. ``There's ups and downs for everybody while you're here. This is what happens when you play at Oklahoma. You're expected to win every ball game, and the quarterback's supposed to be the guy that's the catalyst for that.''

From being dumped in defeat, Jones can quickly redeem himself in one of the best ways possible: by beating the Longhorns.

``That's typically the way it goes. One week you're the worst person in the world, the next week everybody loves you,'' Jones said. ``You just have to realize what you are. I think I've been saying don't ride the wave. Always be somewhere in between. You're not as bad as you think you are and then some nights you're not as great as you think you are. It's always somewhere in between those two lines.''

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

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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. 

Mostly. 

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?

Wrong. 

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

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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.

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